As part of Girl Scout project: Science camp comes to town

Emma Koehler, a senior at Fairmont High School, is in charge of a STEM girl camp taking place next week at the high school. Koehler is putting on the camp in order to earn her Gold Star, the highest award a Girl Scout can earn.

A three day science camp for girls will be held next week from July 24-26 at the Fairmont High School. The camp is designed to help girls get interested in and learn more about robotics and STEM fields. The camp is being organized and led by Fairmont senior Emma Koehler for her Girl Scout gold award project.

Koehler has been in Girls Scouts for 13 years. She is a member of troop #30213. The now 18-year-old started when she was in kindergarten and has stuck with it ever since. After receiving her bronze award while in 3rd grade, and her silver award while in 7th grade, Koehler knew she’d want to go for the gold. It’s the highest award and honor a Girl Scout can get.

Among the many activities Koehler is involved in, including speech, cross country and orchestra, she’s also a member of the robotics team.

“I’ve always liked science, but got made fun of for it when I was younger. I joined the robotics team in 8th grade. My brother joined before me and ever since then I had wanted to, too,” Koehler said of how she got interested.

Koehler thought about putting on a science camp for girls around this time last year.

“I found statistics saying only 12 percent of females are engineers and that bothered me. There’s a stigma saying science isn’t for girls. I want to show little girls that science if for everyone,” Koehler said.

Koehler started her paperwork on the gold award project in September of last year, got it approved in January, and sent out flyers for the camp in May of this year.

“It’s required that I spend 80 hours on the project, and the camp hasn’t even happened yet, so I don’t think I’ll have a problem getting that many hours,” Koehler admitted.

Koehler has put in a tremendous amount of work, as she’s expected to do the vast majority by herself, but she has had help from an incredible group of individuals. Bob Bonin, who is her robotics coach, is serving as her advisor. Also assisting Koehler are Amber Seibert, the Ag. teacher at the high school, Elizabeth Ward, her long-time Girl Scouts leader, Nicki Kueker, Jennifer Nielsen and Nancy Klemek.

“The people helping me are incredible,” Koehler said, expressing how appreciative she is.

The camp is for girls entering grades 1-6. Although the last week in July is usually reserved for a Girl Scouts camp, Koehler wanted to open this up to all girls, whether they’re in Girl Scouts or not.

“I just want to get more girls interested in sciences and robotics. I want to show them that science is for everyone,” she explained.

All of the projects are STEM related. They will be testing chemical reactions, doing water testing, and using robotics kits, to name a few.

“I’ve had very generous donors, which is why we’re able to do these projects,” Koehler said.

Some of the donations came from the Fairmont Area School District, Rosen Family Foundation, Martin County Youth Foundation, and the Martin County/Fairmont Girl Scout Service Unit.

There are 80 girls signed up from the camp, coming from all over Martin County. Koehler has enlisted the help of several robotics team members, 12 program aid Girl Scouts, and the team of adults helping her.

Koehler is excited for the camp as she will be sharing her passion with other girls. Of her 5 member Girl Scout troop, Koehler is the only one left since the other 4 girls graduated last year. She is sad to see her Girl Scout days end, but looks forward to her life time Girl Scout membership.