Girl Scouts Celebrate Grand Opening of Solar STEM Lab/Classroom

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From the Girl Scouts of NYPENN Pathways:

Johnson City, N.Y. — Girl Scouts of NYPENN Pathways (GSNYPENN) held the official grand opening of their new state-of-the-art solar STEM lab/classroom at the council’s Amahami Adventure Center in Deposit late last week.  

Joining GSNYPENN CEO Julie Dale on Thursday, August 27, were GSNYPENN Board of Directors Chair Karen Hegeman, project contractor Randy Hay of Randy Hay Construction Inc., project architect Elizabeth Davidson, and representatives from the Community Foundation of South Central New York/Women’s Fund, United Way of Broome County, ETM Solar Works, Friends of Amahami, District Rotary 7170 in addition to GSNYPENN staff and members.

The green facility supports girls as leaders in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, math) and serves as a resource for communities in greater Binghamton and the Southern Tier. According to research, STEM occupations are growing at double the rate of other professions in the U.S. Women hold less than 28 percent of these jobs yet make up more than 47 percent of the workforce. Over the next 10 years, 1 million new STEM professionals will be needed.

“We know that to be effective, STEM engagement needs to start early on. The STEM lab helps us continue our mission of building tomorrow’s female leaders by preparing girls for careers in STEM through their Girl Scout experience. We hope the lab is not only a place to be creative and learn but a space that feels ‘alive’ thanks to unique features showcasing how its green elements work. We’re very grateful to the donors and community organizations that stepped up to make this a reality for our girls and the region,” says GSNYPENN CEO Julie Dale.

Girl Scouts explore progressive, girl-led STEM activities at every level. The new lab/classroom allows GSNYPENN to deliver even more programming to its members. Features of the one-story building include a solar equipment viewing area with solar energy gauged in real-time and displayed on TV monitors; two “truth panels” that provide a behind-the-scenes look into the floor heating application, insulation, and wiring; and a (non-COVID) capacity of 45 people. The building is self-sustaining for its electrical needs. Maximized solar roof panels installed on a standing seam metal roof are predicted to contribute substantially to the energy needs of the entire camp property at a projected savings of $9,000 annually.

Funding for the $300,000-plus project included gifts from four generous Girl Scout alums/families who wish to remain anonymous. The project was also supported by community grants from Robinson Broadhurst Foundation, United Way of Broome County, Community Foundation for South Central New York, Guthrie, IBM (in recognition of GSNYPENN Board Member Michael Sabo’s volunteer service and retirement from the company), P&G Fund of the Greater Cincinnati Foundation, Rotary District 7170, Friends of Amahami and many individual donors. In-kind support was provided by SUNY Broome Community College, with students under the direction of Associate Professor and Chair of Visual Communications Patricia Evans providing interior design concepts. 

Girl Scouts has the reach and proven programming to motivate a new generation of girls to explore STEM and become confident leaders. The organization has committed to filling the STEM workforce pipeline and in 2019 launched the Girl Scout STEM Pledge, a multi-year initiative to put 2.5 million girls through its hands-on STEM programming by 2025.

The STEM lab will be available for use by GSNYPENN members, local organizations and the public. Contact or call 1.855.213.8555 for further information regarding the rental process.

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