2023 Award Honoree
GIRL SCOUT • ROCKET SCIENTIST • STEM ENTREPRENEUR
Sylvia Acevedo grew up in a lower income family in Las Cruces, New Mexico with a natural curiosity for and interest in math and science when the expectations were to marry and have children. Often feeling alone and disconnected, she was introduced to Girl Scouts, which put her on the path to college, engineering, NASA, executive roles at Apple, Dell, IBM and Autodesk and eventually becoming the CEO of Girl Scouts of the USA.
Girl Scouts taught her how to take control of her world, and she forged her own trail to become one of the first Latinx to graduate with a master’s in engineering from Stanford University and to become a rocket scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. It also nourished her love of numbers and science, so as Chief Executive of Girl Scouts, she led the largest program rollout in their 100+ year history with 146 new badges and programs in STEM, Outdoors, Entrepreneurship and Civics. Girls earned over 1 million STEM badges during her tenure. President Barrack Obama appointed Ms. Acevedo as a White House Education Commissioner, and she chaired the White House initiative for Educational Excellence for Hispanics in Early Childhood. She is credited as the key driver of the Administration’s Early Childhood Dual Language Education Policy. To inspire the rising generation to live a life of their potential, Ms. Acevedo authored the bestselling Path to the Stars: My Journey from Girl Scout to Rocket Scientist, in English and Spanish.
Forbes named her as one of America’s Top 50 Women in Tech and In Style listed her as #7 on the Badass 50: Women Who are Changing the World.