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Girl Scout CEO Inspires Scott Carpenter Students

"If I can do it, so can you!"

That was the message that Sylvia Acevedo, a former rocket scientist and the current CEO of Girl Scouts of the United States of America shared with Scott Carpenter Middle School students on Sept. 12, 2018, during a school assembly. Acevedo, who grew up nearly in poverty in Las Cruces, N.M., captivated students with her story of overcoming cultural and social barriers to fulfill her lifelong dreams.

"You will have challenges in your life, but you can overcome them," she told students. "I believe in you, and you have to believe in you too!"

In her book Path to the Stars: My Journey from Girl Scout to Rocket Scientist, Acevedo delivers an important message for all students, especially young Latina girls, about the power of education. She told students that as a young girl, she fell in love with science and space and defied the odds by getting her master’s degree in engineering from Stanford University and a job in NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

"There weren’t a lot of people like me at any point in my life," she expressed. "I want kids to prepare themselves and have high hopes."

Sylvia Acevedo as a child and now In her interview with National Public Radio, Acevedo discussed an early challenge she faced when her high school counselor said, "girls like you don't go to college." She refused to go along with that mindset, and had several other teachers who she said believed in her and her potential.

"Middle school is often the last chance to engage students in math and science," she shared, which is a motivation for her to target middle school students during her book tour. "If a kid does math and science in middle school, that opens up world of opportunity."

Another important life lesson she shared with the students at Scott Carpenter was one she learned as a Girl Scout selling cookies. She said she never gave up on a potential sale until hearing "no" three times. As you might imagine, she sold a lot of cookies.

Watch the What's Up WPS video exclusive above to see how Acevedo inspired the Astros at Scott Carpenter to reach for the stars. Learn more about Acevedo and how she is leading transformations in communities across the U.S. online at sylviaacevedo.org