Path to the Stars: My Journey from Girl Scout to Rocket Scientist | Sylvia Avecedo

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Path to the Stars: My Journey from Girl Scout to Rocket Scientist

Sylvia Avecedo

Clarion Books, Imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, 2018

Hardcover, 320 pages

Also published in Spanish: Camino a las estrellas: mi recorrido de Girl Scout a ingeniera astronáutica

Translated by: Isabel Mendoza

Clarion Books, Translation Edition, 2018

Hardcover, 352 pages

Trigger Warnings: Talk of domestic violence and alcoholism

About the Author: Sylvia Avecedo is hard to summarize in a paragraph. Her career as a rocket scientist began with her Girl Scout Science badge and continued as she worked on the Voyager mission around Jupiter at the Jet Propulsion Labs. She’s an engineer at IBM, was one of the first Hispanics to earn a graduate engineering degree at Stanford University, and is currently a Commissioner on the White House Initiative for Educational Excellence for Hispanics and the CEO for the U.S. Girl Scouts. Her Middle Grade memoir tells more of her inspiring story.

“I could create possibilities for myself. That gave me confidence and the courage to dream big dreams”

Sylvia Elia Acevedo Monge refuses to be discarded along with the two names she wasn’t allowed to use in elementary school. Things, even last names, were different in the United States, but she would learn how to dream up opportunities, wondering at the starry lights in the sky. Still a young girl, Sylvia is determined to take care of her family and be excited for herself, especially when others are skeptical. Growing up in New Mexico, Sylvia finds solace in the Brownies after her younger sister’s diagnosis of meningitis leads to a new, privileged, and intimidating school. She finds friends and encouragement in her troop, learning life skills and exploring more about the world and her unlimited potential to make a positive impact. As her curiosity and drive encourage Sylvia towards STEM, she struggles to balance the traditions of her family with her own dreams. Always looking and reaching for the infinite and now working amongst the stars, Acevedo is an inspiration to young girls, the Latin community, engineers, and readers all around the globe.

Path to the Stars: My Journey from Girl Scout to Rocket Scientist is an autobiography that is encouraging and supports movements of social equality and in the workforce. There are a few serious and challenging themes, such as domestic violence, that might need to be further explored in conversation, as Acevedo does not provide much commentary on these complex issues.

PRR Writer: Anna Gerwig

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