One of UNO’s own has been given the chance to work alongside NASA scientists to find a way to bring STEM opportunities back to the girls of Nebraska.
Krista Testin, Planetarium Operator and Instructor for UNO’s Mallory Kountze Planetarium, is leading Nebraska Girl Scouts as they participate in “Reaching for the Stars – Girl Scout Astronomy Club Training” at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD.
Testin became involved in Girl Scouts when her daughter joined two years ago. The troop was nearly disbanded before Testin stepped in and volunteered to be the group’s co-leader. She says it’s important to break discouraging stereotypes and help girls pursue their dreams.
“For decades girls have been underrepresented in many STEM fields,” Testin said. “The view of women in STEM is changing in my opinion, but change is slow and takes time.”
Testin’s team included two high school Girl Scouts, a Girl Scout volunteer and an amateur astronomer. The Girl Scouts Spirit of Nebraska team is Hannah Sims, 14, of North Platte; Kate Lembree, 16, of Omaha and Wendy Jamison, a Chadron State College professor and a Girl Scout volunteer and mom from Chadron.
The program gives participants a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to connect directly with NASA scientists through lively presentations, hands-on activities, observations with a robotic telescope, lab tours and outdoor experiences.
After taking part in the program, the team will launch a Girl Scout astronomy club in Nebraska.
“We have started to look at how we can spread our similar interest in astronomy to educate and inspire not only Girl Scouts from our towns but across the state of Nebraska,” Testin said. “Areas often have limited resources or the resources are hard to get for the girls. The workshop at NASA Goddard will hopefully give us great ideas and resources that we can share with the Girl Scouts of Nebraska.”
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