Why These Girl Scouts Dressed Up As Iconic STEM Heroes

For more than 100 years, the Girl Scouts of the USA has aimed to inspire girls to learn an array of life skills, from crafting and camping to community service, and, more recently, computer science. Earlier this year, the organization launched an initiative to enhance Scouts' interest in STEM called the Girl Scout STEM Pledge, which intends to raise $70 million and get 2.5 million girls involved in STEM industries by 2025.

Part of their work has been getting girls who are already Scouts more familiar with the field, through earning new badges in areas such as cybersecurity and space science. They also want to create a pipeline of interest and talent starting at a young age.

On December 4, 2017 — during Computer Science Education Week — the Girl Scouts announced a partnership with Raytheon, a cybersecurity company and defense contractor, to develop new computer science programming and a cyber challenge for middle and high-school girls. They also held a photoshoot in which five current Scouts dressed up as STEM heroes of the past and present.

"We took into account the importance of exposing girls to STEM icons they could not only admire, but also relate to," a representative from the Girl Scouts told Refinery29. "Studies indicate that a girl’s interest in STEM-related fields develops at a young age — but when asked, very few envisioned a STEM job in their future. Casting a spotlight on powerful role models within the STEM arena offers girls a vision of what is possible, and can steer her career trajectory at any age."

Read on to see the women who were highlighted, and the Scouts who helped tell their empowering stories.

Photo: Toddlewood®/Girl Scouts of the USA
"The girls learned about the women they were dressing up as, and their incredible contributions to history," a representative from the Girls Scouts says. "They also had fun bonding behind the scenes, teaching each other about the women they were dressed up as, and taking group pictures together!"
Photo: Toddlewood®/Girl Scouts of the USA
"Girl Scout Mary Caitlin plays Sylvia Acevedo, an American engineer, rocket scientist, businesswoman, and the current CEO of Girl Scouts of the USA. Acevedo was one of the first Latinas to earn a graduate engineering degree from Stanford University and credits much of her success to her Girl Scout experience."
Photo: Toddlewood®/Girl Scouts of the USA
"Girl Scout Anicia plays Katherine Johnson, an African-American mathematician whose calculations were critical to the success of many missions, including the Apollo 11 flight to the moon. Her story was recently chronicled in the silver-screen hit Hidden Figures. In 2015, Johnson was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom."
Photo: Toddlewood®/Girl Scouts of the USA
"Girl Scout Mia plays Ada Lovelace, who has been called the world's first computer programmer. She wrote the world’s first machine algorithm for an early computing machine, the Difference Engine."
Photo: Toddlewood®/Girl Scouts of the USA
"Girl Scout Elizabeth plays Rear Admiral Dr. Grace Hopper, a pioneer of computer programming, who programmed the Mark I computer during World War II and continued to work in computing after the war, leading the team that created the first compiler."
Photo: Toddlewood®/Girl Scouts of the USA
"Girl Scout Sarah plays Margaret Hamilton, an American computer scientist, engineer, and business owner, who led a team at MIT that developed software for the Apollo space program."
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