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Monday, September 19, 2016

Giving Sylvia A. - Tour of the Edge

Today, I got to give the Interim CEO of Girl Scouts of the USA a tour of our councils Tech Lab.  The lab and program have been called "The Edge" since it started in 1999.

Welcome to “The Edge” lab.  In 1999, Girl Scouts Lone Star Council met with a group of older girls and asked them WHY they wanted to learn about computers.  One of the girls responded that it would give them “the edge” in school and in life.  From that day forward “The Edge” was the name of our technology programs and computer lab.

I am excited to have been a part of the FLL team here for 2 years, a Samsung STEM participant and IBM Watson camp participant. 

When our first computer lab opened in 2000 we were lucky to have Dell, Microsoft and National Instruments as early partners.  Quickly we had Intel.  We offered programs to all the girls in our council including the Girls Beyond Bars troops and the outreach program troops. The growth of the program was supported by IBM when we launched the Edge Express – our first “on demand” programs where we would go out to troops meeting locations, set up a small network and teach girls and leaders how to build websites and make digital scrapbooks.

By 2001 we had introduced over 600 girls to lego robotics thru the Expanding Your Horizons events, dad and me robotics day and more.  This meant continued support from the Kodoskys and National Instruments as we expanded our robotics programs to First Lego League teams and as FIRST grew so did our opportunities for girls. 

Currently, “The Edge-Austin”-one of our 5 lab locations, is also home to the world qualifying Lady Cans, FRC team, 1 of 2 in our council and we went from 2 First Lego League teams to sponsoring 7 this year.   

Our volunteers and staff have offered various national pilot programs and first experiences keeping Girl Scouts on “The Edge”.  Including Intels Fair Play, Techbridge, Dells Video Game Designer, Google Made with Code and local programs including Samsung STEM challenge, Coder Girls, Daisy STEM patch series and our Outdoor STEM journey.

The homeschool STEM club is starting its 4th year.  We have explored green building, engineering, aviation, scratch, CAD and 3D printing.  This semester was inspired by you – we are exploring Rocket Science and rocketry.

Graduates of “The Edge” have gone on to be graphic designers,  robot builders for NASA and NASA engineers.

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