Latinas are being encouraged to shoot for infinity and beyond thanks to The American Girl Company’s 2018 Girl of the Year, Luciana Vega. American Girl’s latest doll is 11 years old, from Chile, and dreams to be the first person on Mars. Those are some pretty stellar ambitions!
Luciana is the brainchild of an American Girl/ NASA collaboration.
In a statement announcing the doll’s release, the company wrote:
“Like the characters who came before her, 2018 Girl of the Year Luciana Vega shows what it can mean to be a girl of strong character in her time, in this particular historical moment that we all share, where creative thinking, collaboration, and STEM literacy provide opportunities for meaningful growth.”
Dr. Ellen Stofan, a former Chief Scientist at NASA and a current member of Luciana’s advisory board, explains the importance of having a doll that stimulates young girls and their interests in STEM.
“We are living in a society that is increasingly technology-focused,” Stofan said. “If we have only half the population—or slightly less than half the population—trying to figure out how to navigate this increasingly complex world we live in, we’re not going to do as well. We are not going to do as well if we’re not tapping into the talent of everybody.”
Luciana’s STEM storyline sends young Latinas a message that they hold infinite potential within themselves.
Having more women in STEM would be a key catalyst in closing the gender divide. Female participation in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) have the greatest potential of conclusively altering social norms and achieving equality for the masses. Yet, today, STEM fields are only represented by 3.6 percent of Latinas.
Luciana’s launch coincides with American Girl sponsoring 20 scholarships for girls interested in attending space camp.
According to the American Girl page for Luciana, the doll’s stories will be made up of equal parts STEM and character-building plot lines.
The page reads:
“In pursuing her goals, Luciana must contend with challenges, obstacles, and even failure—which ultimately highlight the qualities that make a reliable team player, a caring friend, a thoughtful leader, and a resilient change-maker.”
American Girl has been telling stories of female historical, cultural, and academic figures and influences for decades through as series of dynamic and diverse dolls. They help build greater positive representation for young girls, who can see themselves reflected in the dolls and their accomplishments.
Last year’s American Girl of the Year was Gabriela McBride, a dancer and girl of color. She too aimed to make a difference in the world by breaking “down barriers.” Here’s to Luciana, who’s planning to do the same by setting her sights on the stars!