A Murray State University professor has earned a $25,000 NASA grant for his work to create a science, technology, engineering and mathematics-centered outreach event for Girl Scouts later this year.
Dr. Aleck Leedy, an associate professor of engineering physics in the Murray State University Institute of Engineering, will establish an Engineers-Day (E-Day) for Girl Scouts within the Girl Scouts of the Kentuckiana Council that features hands-on activities and experiments, offering participants opportunities to earn STEM badges in mechanical engineering, robotics and space science.
Those badges provide participants from kindergarten through 12th grade chances to explore specific STEM fields of interest, all while learning new skills and furthering their education. Activities include robot construction, experiments with balloon-powered planes, ballistic catapults and gravity fans as well as telescope construction.
“It’s vital to bring more girls and women into the STEM fields,” Leedy said. “That all starts with events like this. Hands-on learning at a young age develops scientific interest and often leads to further academic and career pursuits. I’m proud and grateful to have the support of the NASA Kentucky Space Grant Consortium and the Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana in this endeavor.”
The E-Day event is tentatively scheduled for Oct. 26 this year and will be held on the University campus. Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana serves nearly 800 individuals across western Kentucky and the Purchase area.
Badges that will be available at the event include:
• Robotics 1: Designing Robots
• Robotics 2: Programming Robots
• Robotics 3: Showcasing Robots
• Space Science Badge
• Mechanical Engineering Badge