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Girl Scouts get $25,000 robotic boost from Monsanto Fund


BELOW: Katie Buchanan from O’Fallon studying wiring on her robotic team’s robot. Katie’s robotic team is called Oops! and was partially funded through the Monsanto Fund grant support.

From Illinois Business Journal news services

GLEN CARBON – Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois has received a $25,000 grant from the Monsanto Fund to support Girl Scout STEM Robotics Leadership in Jersey, Macoupin, Madison and St. Clair counties.

Robotics are a key component of GSSI’s commitment to giving girls opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

girlscoutsstemBy participating in three different robotics leagues at three different age levels, GSSI aims to engage more girls across southern Illinois in STEM, so that they can explore valuable career options, build critical thinking and technical skills and sustain a lifelong interest in topics that many girls drift away from by middle school.

“Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois is very grateful to be able to provide even more girls an opportunity to participate in STEM programs and compete on a robotics team through support from the Monsanto Fund,” said Mary Buchanan, GSSI robotics manager.

This grant is part of a broad commitment by the Monsanto Fund focused on strengthening the Greater St. Louis community, where Monsanto Fund and Monsanto Company are headquartered.

The grant will help fund GSSI’s robotics season which starts this fall with First Lego League. In this global robotics program for 9- to 14-year-olds, participants build and program a robot using Lego components. After months of practice and preparation, teams begin competing at regional tournaments, with the highest scoring teams proceeding to a global tournament.

The grant money will also be used to support several Junior First Lego League teams and Botball teams, which belong to a league that challenges middle and high school students to build two autonomous robots then program them. The robots perform a series of preprogrammed tasks in direct competition with another team at the same table. Botball teams will compete at regional tournaments in the spring, with top scoring teams advancing to global competition. In 2013, GSSI had the only all Girl Scout Botball teams in the world.

The grant will also allow GSSI to purchase additional equipment to facilitate the robotics program, including robot kits and tablets. Financial assistance for girls who cannot afford the $15 registration fee to join Girl Scouts will also be provided.

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