Gold Award Girl Scout: Anna Rahn, Colorado Springs, “Get Girls in STEM”

 

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

My project inspired elementary-aged girls to further explore STEM topics in order to rectify the gender imbalance in many classes and workplaces. During the course of my project, my issue expanded to include teachers and parents in my target audience as well.

To do this, I created 17 STEM activities for use in the classroom. These were designed to be used in classrooms and after-school events, but due to the global pandemic, I was unable to distribute them to local schools. Instead, the PDF copies were made available for free on www.getgirlsinstem.wixsite.com/stemactivities. Additionally, the Instagram account @getgirlsinstem posted photos of each activity with a short description for approximately two months.

How did you measure the impact your Gold Award project made on your target audience?

I decided to measure my project’s success by the number of people reached. On social media and the internet, this is a very easy way to measure how many people have read and interacted with posts, comments, and articles. I was not sure how many online interactions were a reasonable expectation, so I set my goals after seeing how the first post performed.

On Instagram, I used the Insights feature available to creators to analyze my weekly views, follows, profile visits, and website clicks. Since this updates weekly, I recorded my statistics frequently and was able to add up my total impact at the very end of my project. By June 15, 2020, I had 727 followers, 8,010 impressions (the number of times a post was viewed), 6,933 reaches (the number of unique accounts that viewed a given post), 34 saves, 1,150 likes, and 40 posts.

For my website, I used an apps that Wix provided called QuickAnalytics and Web-Stat. These were much more detailed than Instagram Analytics and provided information on visitors, visitor location, operating systems, referring sites, and more. By the end, I had 106 visitors coming from 11 states and seven countries.

How is your project sustainable? How will your project continue to impact after your involvement?

Many students in my school’s chapter of the National Honor Society (NHS) and Science NHS were interested in creating activity pages and volunteering at demonstrations. I spoke with the students who will be in leadership next year and asked about their willingness to take over this project throughout their senior year. I received positive responses, so provided a list of suggested volunteer activities that included writing activity pages, writing blog articles, and coordinating demonstrations at local schools. With the help of these students, my project will continue to grow and impact the community even after I have disengaged.

What is your project’s global and/or national connection?

My website and Instagram page reached parents, teachers, and students all over the world. Wix’s app Web-Stat showed my website traffic analytics each month, which included information on visitor frequency, location, equipment, and more. This showed me that people from all over the country were viewing my activities and blog posts. Visitors came from 11 states (California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Texas, and Virginia) and seven countries (Australia, Canada, Germany, Ireland, the United States, Taiwan, and Thailand).

Instagram also showed visitor analytics, updating once per week. However, this only displayed the five top areas by city and country, so I screenshotted the important information frequently to keep track of each change. On Instagram, I received visitors from four American cities (Colorado Springs, Los Angeles, New York, San Jose) and six countries (Australia, Canada, Germany, India, the United Kingdom, the United States).

What did you learn about yourself?

During my project, I grew and learned much about myself. For example, I never realized how passionate I could be about a social issue until I started actively trying to solve one. The more research I did on the statistics and factors impacting women in STEM, the more I wanted to help dismantle these barriers.

I learned about myself when reaching out to others, whether they be teachers, principals, mentors, or organizations. I had never contacted someone about a personal project before, and was hesitant and nervous about sending my first email. However, I soon realized that advocating for a cause I truly believed in was energizing. It felt good to know I was improving a real-world situation and making a quantifiable impact. I learned that I can reach out to others and bring together a team.

I also learned about growth. The beginning of my project was rocky – progress was slow, and I wasn’t fully sure I could actually complete it. There were many steps in the road before me, and I had trouble seeing the end. However, as I began reaching out to people, they began responding. I realized there are many, many people who are willing to help, and this discovery helped me to grow in confidence and initiative.

How will earning your Gold Award impact you in the future?

My Gold Award project helped me grow in a way that will greatly impact me in the future. I learned how to manage a large-scale project, manage my time, speak up, and delegate tasks. All of these are quite important skills for a leadership position, so will help me in future job/internship applications where I can speak about my real-world experience leading a team.

Girl Scouts also helps Gold Award Girl Scouts network with one another, so by earning this award, I will be able to meet others with similar drive.

Why do you feel the Gold Award was an important part of your Girl Scout experience?

I finished my Gold Award during my senior year of high school. This was the last year I could be a Girl Scout participant before I aged out of the organization, so completing my project was like the culminating activity of my entire experience. I drew upon skills I had been working on since first joining, such as initiative, creativity, and leadership. Each of these came from troop activities, whether it be selling cookies, planning events, or working with younger girls. My project allowed me to utilize all these skills and improve upon others, as well as publicizing activities that allow girls to fall in love with STEM the way I did years ago.

How did earning your Gold Award help you become a G.I.R.L.?

When COVID-19 hit the United States, I could no longer hold in-person demonstration of my activities like I had planned. This forced me to find innovative ways of sharing my project with the community. I turned to Instagram and Wix, which gained me a larger exposure in the end since there were no physical constraints as there would be hand-delivering booklets to local schools.

**IMPORTANT NOTE: This blog represents only a small fraction of the hard work, dedication, and requirements that go into earning a Girl Scout Gold Award. It is simply a brief summary, which is meant to inspire Girl Scouts to Go Gold in the future. For more information on earning your Gold Award, please email highestawards@gscolorado.org.