• Grant from Google doubles reach of Girl Scouts of Western Washington robotics program

    By: John Knicely


    SEATTLE - Some very sharp young women showed off their skills Friday at the Google campus in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood.  

    They’re all part of the Girl Scouts of Western Washington robotics program, which just got a big boost from Google.

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     A $50,000 grant is doubling the number of girls the program can handle.  And they’re specifically targeting young women in underserved areas of South King County, Skagit and Cowlitz counties.

    Morning anchor and reporter John Knicely talks to the girls about what they're learning in his story on KIRO 7 News at 5 p.m.  >>http://kiro.tv/LiveNews

    “You're building and programming a robot all on your own and then it moves,” ninth grader Fritzi Kornstadte said.  “And it does things you tell it to do.”

    Kornstadte is on the Bearded Pineapples team from Bellevue.  

    How did they get that name, you ask?

    “For some reason we came up with the name Bearded Pineapples,” she said.  “And I guess the name stuck because we all liked it.”

    On Friday, the girls showed off their robotics skills to Google employees and got a tour of the campus.

    “Well, we know that middle school years are crucial for girls, particularly for getting interested in STEM,” Darcy Nothnagle, head of External Affairs, said.  “I think what's exciting and heartening now is there are so many programs girls can take advantage of.  And I think you're going to see a shift, I really do.”

    And it's not just fun and games.  Eighth grader Carmen Black's team from Ballard, the Not-So-Mad-Scientists, is working to reduce water waste in households.

    “We're actually thinking of building an app that tracks how much water you're using,” she said.

    While the teams do compete, Friday was just a chance for these bright young minds to show off their skills and learn from the pros.

    “I'm definitely interested in being an engineer,” said Kornstadte. “I like software engineering, but I don't want to commit to one thing yet.”

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