Who she is:
Alexis Denny of Kansas City is a program manager at the Girl Scouts Northeast Kansas and Northwest Missouri headquarters. She coordinates projects, camps and hands-on activities that focus on science, technology, engineering and math, also known as STEM.
Making science fun:
Denny’s main goal is to make science less intimidating for young girls. A lot of Girl Scouts she encounters admit they find the subjects boring or scary. She uses activities such as a fake CSI crime scene or introduces guest speakers with fascinating jobs to help show the girls that science careers are exciting and attainable.
“Being a scientist doesn’t mean you’re the dorky person in a lab coat,” she said. “I want to open their minds. I want to show them they can be an engineer and still raise a family.”
Changing the future:
After graduating from college with a degree in biology, Denny signed up for the Peace Corps. She spent a few years teaching science to schoolchildren in a rural village in southern Africa, with no electricity or hot water. Seeing so few girls at the school opened her eyes.
“Being a positive influence in a young female’s life is so important,” she said. “It made me realize I want to help create future female leaders.”
So she took a job with the Girl Scouts in 2007.
Now, during the Girl Scout’s 100th anniversary year, she proudly notes that every female astronaut in NASA has been a Girl Scout and so have most world leaders, such as Hillary Clinton and Condoleezza Rice.
And with Denny’s help, there could be more to add to that list in the next 100 years.