As CEO of Girl Scouts of the USA and a lifelong Girl Scout, and thanks to my successful business tech career, I am in a position to give back to an organization that gave me so much. It was at Girl Scouts that I first discovered my passion for space and astronomy, during a troop camping trip when I was a seven-year-old Brownie and my troop leader noticed my fascination with the night sky. She pointed out the constellations to me and, as I gazed wide-eyed into the New Mexico sky, explained how there were whole systems out there for the exploring.
Girl Scouts is also where I realized that I was not only interested in science and math—I was good at them. Through my badge experiences, like the one where I earned my Science badge by building and launching an Estes Rocket after much trial and error, I developed the persistence and resilience that I have relied upon my entire career as a rocket scientist, engineer, and tech executive.
Now it’s my personal mission to ensure that today’s girls have every opportunity to discover and cultivate their passions, to dream big, and to succeed and thrive in whatever path they choose—especially in STEM fields.
Although Girl Scouts has always offered valuable hands-on STEM experiences—among our first badges were pilot, carpentry, and electrician—in the past few years we have undergone a STEM revolution. In the last year alone, girls have earned nearly 1 million STEM badges in robotics, coding, computer programming, mechanical engineering, space science, environmental advocacy, and cybersecurity.