Girl Scouts Break Ground on New STEM Center in FirstEnergy’s Northeast Ohio Service AreaFirstEnergy Foundation donates $500,000 for a green roof at the center
As a college engineering student in the 1990s, FirstEnergy’s Michelle Henry was just one of a few female students in the program at Ohio Northern University.
And while young women have increasingly become more involved in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) over the years, Henry believes there is still work to be done to bolster their interest in these disciplines.
That’s why Henry, senior vice president of customer experience at FirstEnergy, is committed to exposing youth across northeast Ohio to STEM-related fields through her involvement on the board of directors for the Girl Scouts of North East Ohio (GSNEO).
She was one of more than 100 supporters who attended the Aug. 17 groundbreaking ceremony for the GSNEO’s new STEM Center of Excellence at Camp Ledgewood in Summit County, Ohio, within the boundaries of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
“I spent a lot of time outdoors as a child exploring and tinkering with things, which really encouraged me to be curious and think about how and why things work the way that they do,” said Henry. “That foundation is ultimately what led me to pursue a degree in civil engineering, and I’m beyond excited to see how this new STEM Center for Excellence will help mold the minds of young women and get them excited about future career opportunities.”
The STEM Center, expected to open in fall 2024, will include an 8,000 square-foot building and will be integrated with the 350-acre outdoor camp. It will house a wet lab; workshop space, including tools needed for prototyping and invention; a tech space; podcast booth; observatory; weather station; and more. Outside, the building will include other experiences, including a meadow with honeybee exhibit, an outdoor pavilion with bat houses, rain garden and an outdoor classroom.
“The facility will not only inspire Girl Scouts to take on STEM careers but encourage collaboration with local educators to impact a larger group of youth, both boys and girls, to experience year-round STEM opportunities,” said Jane Christyson, CEO of GSNEO. “We couldn’t be here today without the support and generosity from our local and statewide community.”
This $7 million STEM Center is being funded through donations from individuals and companies, including the FirstEnergy Foundation, which contributed $500,000 for a green roof at the new building. The roof will have innovative features including a green roof and educational opportunities for students to explore wind and solar energy alternatives.
“Empowering young women through Girl Scouts’ activities paves the way for a diverse and strong future in STEM fields, ensuring local companies like FirstEnergy shine brighter together,” said Lorna Wisham, vice president of corporate affairs and community involvement at FirstEnergy and president of the FirstEnergy Foundation. “The FirstEnergy Foundation’s donation toward a green roof at the STEM Center of Excellence is also a testament to FirstEnergy’s commitment to reducing its carbon footprint and supporting environmentally-conscious projects throughout the communities we serve.”
FirstEnergy has been a longtime supporter of GSNEO, including its sponsorship of the FirstEnergy Girl Power patch program. The patch program has taught girls about electricity and energy by connecting hands-on activities to our empowering Girl Scout badge content.
MEDIA CONTACT: Lauren Siburkis, (330) 203-8850