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GIRL SCOUT GOLD AWARD PROJECT: Linda Baker, Fort Collins, “Attracting Girls to STEM Using Social Med


Linda Baker pic

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

I encouraged girls in Colorado to get involved in FIRST Lego League by implementing Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, and Twitter functionality on the Colorado FIRST Lego League website, as well as publishing an article on the Girl Scouts of Colorado Blog, encouraging Girl Scouts (both girls and adults) to start Lego Robotics teams. I linked this article to my Facebook page, and asked my contacts to share it on their pages. My project advisor, Ross Parrent, also shared the article on LinkedIn, and asked his network to help spread the word. In May, I participated in a panel discussion for new leaders and volunteers at the Microsoft store in South Denver. This presentation was recorded and posted on the ColoradoFLL website. I have also been responding to email inquiries about how to get involved. Finally, my FRC team continues to do outreach and recruitment at events and exhibits in northern Colorado.

Why did you pursue this Gold Award project?

I am passionate about Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) and chose my Gold Award project to share this passion with young girls in and outside of Girl Scouts. Girls and young women typically lose interest in the STEM subjects, or “dumb themselves down” in order to appear more socially acceptable by their peers. This results in an insufficient number of young women attracted to careers in these fields.

How did your Gold Award project make a difference?

My Gold Award Project made a significant difference in several ways. One of my articles on the Girl Scout of Colorado blog was among the highest read and most favored articles posted in the last several years. My post on the Colorado FIRST Lego League website reached a potential target audience of several thousand young people. A talent scout from Los Angeles contacted me to recruit from both of these target audiences for the television series “America’s Junior Mind Challenge,” giving my readers access to an incredible opportunity. My Gold Award project reached far beyond the GSCO audience.

What skills did you gain through earning your Gold Award?

When I began this project, I was new to web design, and merely a standard user of social media. Through my project, I learned a lot more about programming in HTML and incorporating plugin software components. My communication skills were enhanced by weekly planning meetings with adult partners in FIRST Lego League. I stretched myself quite a bit to take a lead in facilitating discussions among these individuals and consultants from third party software development companies. This experience has taken me far from my comfort zone and given me confidence to be a leader in an adult business world.

How did you make your project sustainable?

The World Wide Web is a persistent and enduring technology that will remain available to everyone. I created controls on the Colorado FIRST Lego League website that allow connections, likes, and shares through Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google+.

What was your connection to the national or global community?

If COFLL is successful, that will enable USFIRST to leverage those both nationally and internationally. The work I have done should transport seamlessly to other HTML applications. Additionally, news of my project reached Hollywood, and the talent search articles continue to propel information to young audiences everywhere.

What will you most remember about your Gold Award project?

The most memorable aspect of my Gold Award project is my contact with the talent scout of Shed Media that was looking for smart young women. I did not realize that my Gold Award could reach so far from Girl Scouts, so that experience will always remind me of the ripple effect that my actions may have on the world.

How will earning your Gold Award help you in your future?

I have become more confident in my ability to hold my own in business situations, and I have learned how to be more effective in quick response situations. There were times I doubted my ability to finish my Gold Award on time, but I managed to finish my project two days before I left for college, and today I have immense satisfaction that I saw it through to completion.

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

My Gold Award Project was a product of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience. Throughout my experience, I developed a variety of skills such as problem solving and communication.

***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

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