With the assistance of the Joliet Junior College MakerLab, Lemont Township High School senior Hannah Sliwa is pursuing the highest Girl Scout honor: the Gold Award.
To achieve it, Sliwa must create a project that benefits the community and leaves a lasting impact.
To be eligible for a Gold Award project, a Scout already must have completed a Silver Award and Gold Award training. In addition, they must present their project to the Girl Scout Council and have it approved. They also need to select a project adviser to assist them throughout the process.
Sliwa, an ambassador Scout in Troop 70591 with the Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana, hosted a Science Career Expo in November at Old Quarry Middle School in Lemont.
One of the resources at the expo was Joliet Junior College’s MakerLab. It features state-of-the-art digital fabrication equipment and software, including 3D printers, a laser cutter and a 3D carving machine.
“Due to all of the new technology this generation has created, science is rapidly changing and various new careers are available,” Sliwa said in a news release from JJC. “I believe students should be aware of this in preparation for their own futures.”
In addition to the MakerLab, participating organizations at the Science Career Expo included CITGO, Argonne National Laboratory, Northern Illinois University, Midwestern University, and The Conservation Foundation.
The event was open to the public.
One of Sliwa’s primary tasks involved networking and reaching out to these organizations and inviting them to participate.
MakerLab assistant Debra Daun said she was delighted to join and support Hannah’s project.
“From the first meeting, I could see that Hannah had very clear goals for her Gold Award project and a solid plan to achieve them.” Daun said in the news release. “She was very articulate and passionate about raising awareness among her peers about the career opportunities available in STEM fields and the value of STEM training.”
Sliwa developed a flyer to promote her event within the community and used social media channels and local news outlets to publicize the event. She also worked with many of her teachers to share the event with students and parents.
Sliwa still has a few more pieces to complete in order to receive the Gold Award. She needs to create a video recap of her event, write a final paper explaining project outcomes, and complete a final interview with the Girl Scout Council.
“Although every part of my project taught me valuable skills and lessons, the most memorable part was seeing the students enjoying my event,” Sliwa said in a news release. “Knowing that my project influenced and educated these students to better prepare them for their future filled my heart with joy.”
Sliwa wants to encourage every girl who is considering pursuing a Gold Award.
“Not only does it distinguish you from others when you apply for college, but it teaches you various skills that are needed in life,” she said in the news release.
The MakerLab at Joliet Junior College is open to the community. Memberships are available at monthly, semester or yearly rates and provide members with access to the MakerLab during open lab hours. Workshops and tours are also available throughout the year. For information about the MakerLab at JJC, call 815-280-6679 or visit www.trainingupdate.org/makerlab.