Tackling four areas of concern for girls and young women in West Virginia—diversity/inclusion, health, STEM and education— West Virginia University and the Girl Scouts of the Black Diamond Council hosted “State of the Girl,” an event centered around the landmark study of the same name conducted by the Girl Scouts of the USA.
“We are committed to ensuring that our girls grow up to be strong, confident women,” said Meshea Poore, vice president of WVU’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Our goal on Monday was to explore ways to make that a reality for all of the rock star girls who live in West Virginia.
The event began with a panel discussion featuring Poore, Arria Hines, CEO of Allegheny Science and Technology; Nicole Izzo-Brown, head coach of the WVU Women’s Soccer Team; Jennifer Knight, Director of WVU Medicine’s Trauma Center; and Carrie White, Director of the WVU LaunchLab.
Panel moderators, WVU Provost Joyce McConnell and Beth Casey, chief executive of the Girl Scouts of the Black Diamond Council, asked the panelists about some of the most striking findings of the study, such as the peak in girls’ self-esteem at around age nine and the finding that girls in West Virginia are 12 percent more likely to struggle with math by 8th grade than girls nationwide.
Speakers and attendees alike made the case for turning conversation into action and thinking critically about what women can do as organizers, mentors and teachers to promote the success and well-being of young girls within the state.
“Our girls need us now more than ever,” Casey said. “Now is the time to get involved in your local community and make a difference. We know that when girls are Girl Scouts growing up, that they have higher self-esteem, they do better in school and they have better problem-solving skills.”
During a roundtable discussion that followed the panel, guests worked collaboratively to answer critical questions about what they could do to improve the future of girls in West Virginia, sharing personal experiences, philosophies and innovative ideas.
The event aligned with the mission of West Virginia Forward, a collaborative initiative between WVU, Marshall University, and the West Virginia Department of Commerce. The aim of West Virginia Forward is to create innovative solutions and opportunities to advance West Virginia’s workforce, educational opportunities, community development and more.
CONTACT: Ann Claycomb
Assistant Vice President for Strategic and Academic Communication
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