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Google $50,000 grant to help double size of Girl Scouts robotics program in Western Wash.

A new Google grant will make it possible for more Girls Scouts to get into robotics programs in under-served areas of Western Washington. (Photo: KOMO News)

SEATTLE - A new Google grant will make it possible for more Girls Scouts to get into robotics programs in under-served areas of Western Washington.

At Google offices in Fremont on Friday, dozens of Girl Scouts demonstrated the robots they built.

“This is our first robot. We’re so proud of it. We know we’re going to get better every single time we make new robots,” said 8th grader Catalina Blanco with the Team Rose Dragons.

Blanco said she’s been involved in a robotics program for several years now.

“It’s pretty exhilarating. It’s been really fun. You get to learn new things every day,” said Blanco.

A $50,000 Google grant is inspiring more girls get to involved in science, engineering, and math fields, which are often dominated by men.

“We are very smart and very capable,” said Blanco.

The CEO of Girls Scouts Western Washington said only 10 percent of students in our region earning STEM degrees come from under-represented minorities, and that women in Washington earn STEM degrees at one-third of the rate of their male counterparts.

Supporters say the Google grant will expand the Girl Scouts “First Robotics Program” into neighborhoods that historically have limited access to STEM programming.

“This grant from Google to the Girl scouts will help them double their presence here in Washington State,” said Darcy Nothnagle of Google. “This enables girls to compete in competitions, to form teams where there weren’t teams before, and to access materials.”

Mother Marjorie Blanco, is a coach for the Rose Dragons robotics team. She's also a computer scientist and a systems engineer.

“I think the grant is a great idea. Google realizes investing in young women is the future,” said Blanco. “Women constitute 50 percent of the population, yet they don't have the same numbers in the workforce. Having more women and supporting them is necessary.”

The new Google grant is expected reach 150 girls in western Washington, including in South King, Skagit, and Cowlitz Counties.

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