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Providing pathways for girls interested in STEM careers

The Nationwide Foundation contributes to development of the Girl Scouts of Ohio’s Heartland’s STEM Leadership Center

In an effort to inspire and empower the next generation of women interested in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields, the new STEM Leadership Center & Maker Space is a promising step forward to equip girls with the skills and knowledge to excel in STEM careers.

In May, the Girl Scouts of Ohio’s Heartland (GSOH) hosted its groundbreaking ceremony to mark the beginning of construction of the STEM Leadership Center. Powered by the Girl Scouts’ “Dream Big” initiative, the center will help propel girls into STEM fields by allowing them to unleash their curiosity and develop a passion for leadership.

The Nationwide Foundation has contributed $1.5 million, along with other community partners, to make the $16 million Dream Big initiative a reality. To date, more than $12 million (80 percent of the goal) has been raised to date.

“This development represents the commitment to preparing girls for opportunities and challenges of the future,” said Melanie Kolp, Nationwide’s chief technology officer of corporate technology and GSOH Board Member. “By providing a dedicated space for STEM exploration, we empower girls to embrace their curiosity, build resilience and unlock their full potential.”

Launched in May 2022, the Dream Big project includes:

  • A new STEM Leadership Center with community space, science and technology labs
  • A Maker Space to learn trade skills like welding, mechanics and carpentry
  • A new greenhouse for gardening programs including hydroponics 
  • Renovations to the Environmental Center to include the addition of a teaching kitchen for farm-to-table programming
  • Outdoor learning spaces

The immersive, 220-acre campus will make a broad impact as a community resource for youth and community stakeholders across Ohio. It will be available to schools, other non-profits and community partners.

The Bold Goal
Dream Big is the local commitment supporting the Girl Scouts of the USA’s bold goal of putting 2.5 million girls in the STEM pipeline by 2025. Today, women make up nearly half of the U.S. workforce yet are drastically underrepresented in many fields including STEM, in-demand jobs and leadership roles. For example:

  • Just 18 percent of STEM leadership roles are held by women. Women represent 15 percent of engineers and architects
  • Only 12 percent of computer science degrees are earned by women

“In a world where science, technology, engineering and mathematics are critical to so many fields of study and careers, it’s essential that we bridge the STEM gap by providing girls with a safe place to learn and gain new skills,” said Tammy Wharton, president & chief executive officer, GSOH. “With the support of partners like the Nationwide Foundation, Girl Scouts of Ohio’s Heartland is Dreaming Big for girls’ futures.”

For more information on Dream Big and to learn how you can participate, visit gsoh.org/dreambig.