Girl Scouts Explore Engineering ‘Smart Cookies’ Learn Bridge Building Basics

March 6, 2015
Girl Scouts Explore Engineering ‘Smart Cookies’ Learn Bridge Building Basics

February 28, 2015On Feb. 28, the New NY Bridge (NNYB) project educational outreach team met with Girl Scout troops from Greenburgh and Elmsford to promote careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

The NNYB team partnered with Aaron Tang of Bricks 4 Kidz to get the girls—who ranged in age from 5 through 18—interested in the nation’s largest bridge infrastructure project. Working in teams, the junior scouts constructed LEGO models of the new bridge, following instructions from tablet computers. The exercise encouraged collaboration and problem-solving skills in a fun and exciting manner.

“It was great to watch the girls interact as a team and get the experience of building a bridge through STEM,” said Harriet Mendel, leader of the Greenburgh Girl Scouts. “At first, all I saw were little pieces, but soon enough there were little bridges popping up everywhere!”


Two scouts follow instructions as they build a LEGO model of the bridge.

The more senior scouts were given an in-depth presentation highlighted by project engineer Troy Calkins, who manages cost and schedule for the Thruway Authority, and is father to one of the Brownie scouts in attendance. The young women then quizzed the outreach team and Calkins about various aspects of the bridge project, focusing on how it is being constructed.

“Speaking with the Girl Scouts was important to me, as civil engineering and the engineering profession overall needs more women,” said Calkins, who noted that only 12 percent of practicing civil engineers are women. “As a parent of a young daughter, I think it’s important to nurture a love of math and science from an early age and to encourage girls to explore engineering as a possible career choice.”

As construction continues, the project outreach team will continue engaging young minds. If you are interested in learning more about the New NY Bridge educational outreach effort, please contact the outreach team. We have age-appropriate presentations for elementary, middle and high school students.

Reference to commercial products or trade names is made with the understanding that no discrimination is intended of those not mentioned and no endorsement by the New NY Bridge project, the New York State Thruway Authority or Tappan Zee Constructors, LLC is implied for those mentioned.