Editor’s note: This blog was originally published by Let’s Talk Autonomous Driving on January 12, 2020.
During this year’s “cookie season,” thousands of Girl Scouts’ signature treats will be transported in south Dallas with the help of Waymo, a company developing autonomous driving technology that could transform how people and things get where they’re going.
“The Girl Scouts’ Cookie Program has helped girls and young women recognize and pursue their dreams for more than a century, and we’re honored to now be part of that legacy,” said Becky Bucich, chief people officer at Waymo. “We’re delivering today for tomorrow’s leaders, and we’re dedicated to inspiring the next diverse and inclusive generation of engineers, coders, programmers and STEM professionals.”
Waymo, which has been pioneering autonomous driving technology for more than a decade, announced it would begin testing its Class-8 trucks in Texas in January. The California-based company also operates a fully autonomous ride-hailing service in Metro Phoenix and has tested in more than 25 cities nationwide.
The collaboration between Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas (GSNETX) and Waymo aligns with the longstanding mission of Girl Scouts to prepare girls to thrive in the world, a vision set by Girl Scouts founder Juliette Gordon Low in 1912. In recent years, that has translated to a commitment to encourage girls to pursue careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Girl Scouts of the USA, the national organization to which GSNETX is a council, has made building the STEM pipeline a priority across the country as our reliance on technology and science grows even more important.
“We are excited about our partnership with Waymo,” said Jennifer Bartkowski, chief executive officer for Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas. “Girls will experience a practical use for technology that is shaping our future, inspiring them to become the next generation of engineers, coders, and STEM professionals. At the same, the North Texas community will see cutting-edge technology that can improve the world’s access to mobility. It is a win-win as Girl Scouts continues to change the workforce pipeline for North Texas.”
As part of GSNETX’s virtual “Camp-In Camp Cookie,” which sets girls up for success during cookie season, Xinfeng Le, a product manager for Waymo’s trucking program, presented to the council’s young members about her work at Waymo while also giving girls an inside look at the variety of opportunities in a STEM career.
GSNETX is also joining the Waymo-led public education initiative, Let’s Talk Autonomous Driving, which supports public dialogue around and understanding of autonomous driving technology. GSNETX is Let’s Talk Autonomous Driving’s first STEM-focused education partner and joins a diverse group of national and state-based organizations that share the belief that autonomous driving could make roads safer and improve mobility and accessibility.
“We’re fortunate that Girl Scouts share our passion to cultivate a deeper understanding of the world around us, and we’re excited they have joined Let’s Talk Autonomous Driving as our first STEM-focused education partner,” said Bucich.
Image source: GSNETX