UP Career Corner

Girls of Steel Earn Railroad Scouting Patch

Posted June 12, 2017 01:48 PM CDT

Share This!
Email This

Isabel Vela received her Building America badge after completing a day as a “Girl of Steel.”

While many students are spending their first days of summer vacation at the pool, 19 Omaha, Nebraska, Girl Scouts went to work at Union Pacific as “Girls of Steel.” It was an opportunity to see the endless career possibilities the railroad offers and discover how goods they use every day make it to their favorite stores.

Union Pacific hosted the one-day event in partnership with its employee resource group for women – Lead, Educate, Achieve and Develop (LEAD) – as part of the Girl Scouts “Build Your Future: Full STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math) Ahead” annual theme.

“We see trains all the time, but until today the girls didn’t understand the complexity involved in daily operations,” said Girl Scouts’ Program Specialist Anna Nelson. “It was a great experience for them to see all the opportunities available from Information Technologies to Engineering, and working with the trains themselves.”

Students started the day at UP headquarters, trying their hand at different tasks. They coded emojis, animated their names and built miniature bridges. After lunch, the girls toured the Harriman Dispatching Center – UP’s nerve center where dispatchers are responsible for safe, efficient train movement – followed by the Durham Museum and a train yard in Council Bluffs, Iowa. There, students learned trains are similar to a bag of Skittles. They come into the yard as a mixed bag and are separated – like green, red and yellow Skittles – based on destination or commodity, and built into new trains for departure.

“I thought trains just carried wood and oil, but I learned they carry people and food, too,” said fifth-grader Abby Barry. “It’s also kind of cool that people in different jobs help each other.”

The students weren’t shy asking questions – everything from how many one-gallon buckets of ice cream fit into a refrigerated train car to why more than one locomotive is on a train and the future of the railroad industry.

“I was surprised safety is so important, even more than at school where we talk about tornado drills and stranger danger,” said fifth-grader Peyton Johnson.

The day ended with a sugar rush. The scouts were thrilled to break open their own bag of Skittles and take home a new patch for their vests, not to mention countless new options to dream about when asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

Medium | Girl Scouts Visit Council Bluffs Yard

Girl Scouts visit the Council Bluffs, Iowa, train yard to learn about railroading.