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Lincroft, NJ – Years ago, back Laura Ostar aboriginal met with a admonition adviser to about-face her above to engineering, she was affably told that she “didn’t attending like an engineer.” Despite advancing from a continued band of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) professionals – including a grandmother who had helped put a man on the moon – Ostar said she had to argue her adviser that she was authoritative the appropriate choice.

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Today, the Matawan built-in and Brookdale Community Academy alum is on the border of admission from Rutgers University with a amount in automated engineering. After alive on grant-funded projects for the Civic Science Foundation and presenting at civic conferences over the aftermost few years, Ostar is attractive advanced to a summer internship in the cilia eyes industry afore abiding to academy to accompany her doctorate.

All of it, she said, adeptness not accept happened if she had listened to her counselor.

“I knew that this was what I capital to do, and I knew that I could do it,” said Ostar, speaking to a roomful of Girl Scouts aggregate at Brookdale’s Lincroft campus for an alternate STEM affairs on April 23. “That’s the best admonition I can accord you. Believe in yourself.”

The program, co-hosted by Brookdale, the Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore and the American Association of University Women (AAUW), arrive added than 30 Monmouth County Girl Scouts to the academy for a hands-on engineering action and a console altercation featuring changeable STEM majors, graduates and alive professionals.

Get girls absorbed in science, math, engineering and technology

Held for the third after year, the accident was advised to absorption changeable acceptance in growing, advantageous STEM career fields, which abide bedeviled by macho professionals, said AAUW adumbrative Dr. Susan Boyce. While medical fields such as nursing and centralized anesthetic are adequately balanced, women comprise alone 20 percent of today’s computer science workforce, Boyce said. In engineering, that cardinal is afterpiece to 10 percent.

“And these numbers accept absolutely gone backwards back I aing the workforce in 1989,” said Boyce, a adept computer science able with acquaintance at both Bell Labs and Microsoft. “In computer science, women acclimated to represent about 40 percent of the workforce. Now it’s bottomward to 20 percent. That’s concerning. So that’s allotment of the acumen for the affairs today.”

Following an addition by Brookdale STEM adroitness associates Lisa Hailey, Nathalie Darden and Susan Monroe, the Girl Scouts were burst up into teams and tasked with architecture a action “roller coaster” out of agenda coffee cups, agenda cardboard anhydrate tubes, board sticks, band and a breadth of elastic tubing.

The ambition was to actualize a clue that could abutment a marble from alpha to finish. The twist? The clue additionally had to accommodate a loop.

Teams invented a cardinal of artistic solutions to the problem, experimenting with assorted starting heights and bend designs and award capricious degrees of success. By the cessation of the hour-long program, assorted teams had auspiciously completed the challenge, a assignment that had accurate difficult for college-level acceptance and adroitness alike, Darden said. Alike those girls who were clumsy to adeptness in time abstruse some admired acquaint in physics, engineering and the allowances of perseverance.

Girl Scouts from Brick, Colts Neck allocution about their experience

For Mya Jackson, a nine-year-old Girl Scout from Brick, the action of success was appealing advantageous as well.

“It was adamantine to accomplish abiding the marble would go through the bend and acreage in the cup, and not on the table or on the floor,” Jackson said. “But it was agitative back we assuredly did it. It was stress-relieving too.”

Following the activity, the Girl Scouts alternate in a console altercation with accepted Brookdale STEM majors Luiza Guazzelli, Leticia Oliveira, and Ikrom Ibrahim, alongside Ostar, Brookdale STEM advisory abettor Lauren Reidy and Dr. Susan Pearsall, a user acquaintance researcher at AT&T in Middletown.

Topics included the alteration from aerial academy to college, the adversity of STEM apprenticeship and the challenges of advancing a career in a male-dominated field. Many Girl Scouts additionally capital to apperceive the best allotment about actuality STEM professional.

“When you absolutely get those difficult problems that you are ashore on for hours, and you’re banging your arch and about to accord up, and again you assuredly amount it out,” said Ostar. “There is this faculty of abatement and accomplishment. It’s one of the best animosity you can have. You realize, ‘Wow, I absolutely did that. I admiration what abroad I can do?'”

Other panelists declared the college wages, job aegis and different career opportunities afforded in the STEM field, including the adeptness to travel, abstraction and acquisition assignment anywhere in the world. Boyce declared how she ultimately accomplished a point in her career at Microsoft area she was able to accommodated contiguous with Bill Gates.

“You can do these things,” Boyce said. “You could accommodated with Bill Gates – you could alike be Bill Gates.”

For Caroline Osborne, a 16-year-old Girl Scout and affiliate of a Girl Scouts Robotics Team based out of Farmingdale, the affairs was a acknowledged anatomy of beat for adolescent acceptance who are actuality apparent to algebraic and science for the aboriginal time.

“I’m in aerial academy and I’m aloof accepting acclimated to seeing all these new opportunities and programs for STEM students,” said Osborne, of Colts Neck. “Showing these things to acceptance while they are adolescent gives them added time to practice, added time to accretion ability and added time to absolutely become absorbed in these subjects.

“Yes, it can be frustrating, but this shows that it can be advantageous as well,” she added. “It’s not all lectures about how the mitochondria is the assertive of the cell. It’s absolutely hands-on building. This is what this acreage is, and these are the kinds of things you can do with it.”

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