More than 200 Girl Scouts came to Cookie College and learned about the business of selling cookies on Dec. 10, 2016, at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business. “The girls learned life skills like goal setting and money management that will help them in all aspects of life,” said Sara Tyler, program specialist at the Girl Scout Council of the Nation’s Capital. “It sets them up for life.”
Tyler said bringing the girls to a business school provides additional benefits. “It exposes them to higher education,” she said. “If you’ve been there, you see that it’s attainable.”
Sharon Strange Lewis, senior director of Women and Diversity Programs within the Smith School’s Office of Diversity Initiatives, said girls need to see role models in business when they are young. “They need to feel empowered,” she said.
Overall, about 225 Brownies and Juniors from kindergarten to fifth grade came to campus, along with nearly 40 teenage volunteers. Tyler said older Girl Scouts serve as “attainable role models” for younger girls while improving their own skills in public presentation and customer service.
“This was a girl-led activity,” Tyler said. “If we can get our teens to take on more of a leadership role, it sets them up for success as adults.”
The Smith School’s partnership with Cookie College is part of the broader 50/50 by 2020 initiative, a pledge to close the gender enrollment gap in Smith MBA programs by 2020.