The Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) has teamed up with NASA and the SETI Institute to create a new series of space science badges.
The program, called "Reaching for the Stars: NASA Science for Girl Scouts," features six new badges that align with NASA's space sciences: astrophysics, planetary science and heliophysics. The program is designed to encourage girls to pursue their interests in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) studies, according to a statement from the SETI Institute.
"We are incredibly grateful for the SETI Institute's partnership and the funding from NASA's Science Mission Directorate to make space-science learning even more accessible to girls," Sylvia Acevedo, GSUSA CEO, said in the statement. [Women in Space: A Gallery of Firsts]
The organization hopes that introducing girls to space science at a young age will help to increase the number of women working in STEM fields, according to the statement. The new badges will be available to Girl Scouts of all ages, from kindergarten to 12th grade.
"My experience as a Girl Scout prompted my love of all things STEM and served as the foundation for my future career as a rocket scientist. It also empowered me with the leadership skills and confidence to excel within a male-dominated field," Acevedo said in the statement. "Now, through this collaboration, even more girls will have the opportunity to explore the exciting realm of space science, in the supportive and holistic environment that Girl Scouts provides."
The six new space science badges follow the addition of 23 badges in outdoors and STEM, which were released in July. The new badges range from Space Science Explorer (Daisies) to Space Science Master (Ambassadors), and also include Science Adventurer (for Brownies), Space Science Investigator (for Juniors), Space Science Researcher (for Cadettes) and Space Science Expert (for Seniors). The badges are currently being developed and will be available to Girl Scout troops by 2019, according to the statement.
In addition, 90 Girl Scout councils across the United States received kits filled with educational activities to promote space science and total eclipse studies. The GSUSA's collaboration with NASA and the SETI Institute also supports leadership training in astronomy for Girl Scouts at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center and the University of Arizona.
"Girl Scouts, the SETI Institute and NASA have a rich heritage of working together to give girls more opportunities to learn about space science, and we are excited to advance the cause," Edna DeVore, SETI Institute director of education, said in the statement.
"With the resilience, ingenuity and courage Girl Scouts instills in girls, it's no surprise that many female astronauts in the United States are Girl Scout alumnae," she said. "We recognize today's girls are tomorrow's STEM leaders, and with the new badges and programming, Girl Scouts everywhere will have access to even more of these opportunities, building the next generation of women leaders in STEM that we so desperately need."