New Maker Space for Western Washington Girl Scouts encourages curiosity in STEM fields

KIRO 7 got an inside look at a new concept aimed at getting girls interested in computer science, technology, engineering and math.  The Girl Scouts of Western Washington just opened what they call a Maker Space, complete with technology like 3-D printers.

On Friday about a dozen fifth, sixth, and seventh-graders were intently exploring the new space in Seattle’s Georgetown neighborhood.

“I'm using the pom-poms under the spoon to prop it up to give it stored energy,” said Cascade Elementary sixth-grader Erin Goetz as she worked to make a catapult.  “It's cool because I like trying out different things that I normally wouldn't do at home.”

The Girl Scouts learn to solve science problems like building catapults from scratch and making music with electricity.

“What we're trying to do is give the girls the tools and resources so they can explore,” said STEM program manager Kaileen Wolf.  “They can answer questions for themselves.”

Wolf runs the Maker Space that just opened in October.  It's part of their effort to encourage girls' interest in the computer science and technology fields, which are high paying and in high demand.

The Maker Space is the first for Girl Scouts of Western Washington.

The program runs mostly in the evenings and weekends and is open to all Girl Scouts of Western Washington.  Now the Girl Scouts are considering opening similar spaces at regional offices in the area and even a mobile Maker Space they can take on the road.

One of the big draws is the 3-D printer.  Girls create the designs on a computer program and see them come to life.

Lakeland Hills Elementary fifth-grader Kendall Stark worked to create a stack of boxes with letters A through F.

“I just finished reading the Babysitters Club, the second book,” she said.  “And they used a stack of three building blocks, and I thought maybe I could do that.  It will be super cool when it's printed, that I created this. I made this. This is mine.”

And that’s exactly what the program creators want.

“For me what I find really about that is you can see how empowering it is,” said Wolf.  “And the confidence that girls have from that experience.”