Women in Mathematics Badge (Yes, an Actual Badge!) for Girl Scouts

Issue Number: 
Authors and Affiliations: 
Sarah J. Greenwald, Amber L. Mellon and Jill E. Thomley, Appalachian State University


First paragraph:

The Girl Scouts of America program provides girls with the opportunity to learn many important life skills, as well as explore a variety of real-world topics. In 2012, the Girl Scout Research Institute released a report about girls in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields, based on a survey of Girl Scout members. They concluded that girls are interested in STEM topics and that many of them would like to pursue STEM careers, but in order to realize their goals, they need more exposure to what STEM careers may involve as well as adult support and role models [5]. As a result, Girl Scouts has an initiative to create and make available STEM badges at all levels of Girl Scouting, including encouraging leaders to “Create Your Own Badge” [1], which allows local troops to collaborate with experts in their geographic area to investigate topics for which specific badges do not yet exist.

There is no existing mathematics badge per se (a financial literacy badge is the closest), so we created our own Women in Mathematics badge. Sponsored by High Country Girl Scouts and the Mathematical Sciences Department at Appalachian State University, we also obtained “in cooperation with AWM” status. During a Sonia Kovalevsky type of day, girls in grades 6–9 interacted with women mathematicians and learned about their careers and experiences. Speakers included alumni from our university working in industry as well as faculty members. Participants also learned about AWM and Sonia Kovalevsky, and reflected and shared what they learned on the way to earning the badge pictured in the right-hand column.