When it comes to achieving success in math and science classrooms, research has proved time and again that female and male students perform at equal levels. Bring factors like race, ethnic backgrounds and family income into the mix and the performance rates tend to widen. According to researchers, race and ethnicity can have huge impacts on the ways in which students enroll and perform in high-level mathematics courses. While Asian or Pacific Islander students enroll in these courses at a rate of 64%, Black students (30%) and Hispanic students (28%) are much less likely to take part in these types of courses.
Girl Scouts Of The USA CEO and Rocket Scientist Sylvia Acevedo is striving to combat these numbers and level the playing field through her latest memoir called Path To the Stars.
In her latest book, Acevedo uses her platform to reach young girls of color to instill in them the understanding that they are capable of achieving even their most ambitious desires.
Acevedo’s new memoir introduces young readers to the engineer’s early life as a girl from an underprivileged neighborhood who joins the Girl Scouts and ultimately becomes one of the first Latinx to graduate with a master’s in engineering from Stanford University. The book, which is available in both Spanish and English, underlines the significance of giving opportunity and encouragement to young girls curious about the math and science fields. Speaking about her inspiration for writing her book, Acevdeo highlighted her desire to show young girls how much potential they had for achieving greatness. “We’re teaching girls about coding, cybersecurity, keeping themselves and their digital lives safe, learning to hack and to prevent hacking, learning about the great outdoors, learning how to think like a programmer or an engineer,” Acevedo said in an interview. “[We have] all these amazing programs and I know this is going to give them an advantage in life, just like Girl Scouts gave me a big advantage in life.”
On the importance of showing young girls that math and science can be avenues to greatness, Acevedo asserts that “Many times students look up to actors, musicians, and athletes because they feel like those are people that never gave up on their dreams. But what they don’t see is that there are so many other people around them, like myself and others, who didn’t give up on their dreams either—they just had a different kind of dream. For me, I like math and science. I was prepared, and because I continued to work hard, I had so many more opportunities in life. So I wanted to give kids hope that they can live out their lives and potential.”