Nine-year-old Emily Scott has aspirations to be an astronaut.
The Belton Independent School District student from Charter Oak Elementary student recently completed a class presentation about Sally Ride — a physicist who became the first American woman to enter space in 1983.
“Sally wrote kids books and I’ve been reading her book ‘To Space & Back,’” Emily told the Telegram. “She shows pictures of the rocket ship, and she talks about different subjects with space. She made me interested to go to space too.”
Emily, who wants to know what a zero-gravity condition feels like, said she noticed a similarity between astronauts and her fellow Girl Scouts.
They both wear patches on their uniform.
Earlier this month, the Temple resident was selected as one of 21 Girl Scouts to have their space-related artwork taken to the International Space Station later this year via a SpaceX launch — an opportunity awarded through the “Making Space for Girls” science competition.
The competition, which was sponsored by Girl Scouts Citrus Council in Central Florida and SpaceKids Global, saw nearly 700 entries from the United States, Germany and Japan.
“I want to go to space when I grow up, and I want other girls to go to space if they want to … so the people that I drew on my (spaceship) drawing are my friends,” Emily said.
Ann Scott, Emily’s mom, said she involved her daughter in the competition as a means to stay busy with the pandemic.
“I saw this opportunity and thought that it’d be kind of cool,” Scott said. “Girl Scouts in general has opened up a lot of different STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) opportunities … and for girls to explore a lot of male-dominant fields. So I was hoping that by continually exposing her to different fields and different opportunities that she’ll broaden her horizons as to what she wants to potentially be.”
Although young girls, like Emily, are largely interested in STEM-related careers, the Girl Scout Research Institute reported that women hold less than 28 percent of STEM jobs.
They hope to change just that.
“Girl Scout’s mission is to provide girls the opportunity to discover their full potential; even in fields they may not have even considered,” Laura Terrill, Girl Scouts of Central Texas’ senior STEM program manager, said in a news release. “By introducing girls to STEM principles and giving them the opportunity to create and compete in a STEM challenge, they open their minds to careers they may not have thought about previously.”
A full list of winners from the “Making Space for Girls” science competition can be found online at bit.ly/2PmpfR1.