WSU students help Girl Scouts affected by social distancing

Wichita State students in Samantha Corcoran’s Service Learning in Engineering class are coming up with unique and innovative ways to help kids impacted by COVID-19. 

The class is working with Girl Scouts of Kansas Heartland, which serves more than 11,700 girls and adults throughout Kansas, to create STEM activity kits that include projects in fields like engineering, robotics and coding. These kits are typically comprised of physical materials and instructions that are used by troop leaders to teach merit badge skills during meetings. 

However, with the scouts social distancing in their homes, they needed a new way to earn badges. So students in Corcoran’s class switched direction and began creating innovative activities that the girls could complete at home with common household supplies and less direct instruction. 

“This situation has turned into such a great opportunity for the students to exercise their empathy skills and truly think of the challenges from the customer’s perspective,” Corcoran said. 

Lashaya Lawrie, one of the engineering students, is taking full advantage of the situation and is thrilled to be helping the Girl Scouts. 

“It feels very beneficial to know that we are helping to expose them to STEM,” Lawrie said. “STEM can be really fun and interesting, and it’s great to be part of the learning process for these young girls.”

So far, the class has delivered 24 kits to the Girl Scouts. Those kits are being duplicated and sent out to scouts across Kansas as the students continue to develop more. 

Troops interested in using the virtual kits should contact their local offices. 

Liz Workman, the CEO of Girl Scouts of Kansas Heartland, is excited to see what else the students come up with. Workman and the rest of the Girl Scouts staff appreciates their work ethic and willingness to help in these stressful times. 

“We are thankful for the work of the WSU service-learning students as they continue to create STEM activity instructions and material lists for our Girl Scouts to perform badge work from home,” Workman said.