American Girl has released some pretty amazing dolls over the last year, including Melody Ellison (a civil rights-era doll), Suzie “Z” Yang (the first Korean-American doll), Nanea Mitchell (a doll from Pearl Harbor-era Hawaii), and even Logan Everett (the first American Boy). Now it’s time to say hello to Luciana Vega, American Girl’s 16th Girl of the Year, who’s both an aspiring astronaut and a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) role model.
Introduced on Good Morning America along with a group of girls who looked like they were ready to take on some stellar space travel, Luciana is a “creative, confident 11-year-old girl who dreams of being an astronaut and the first person to go to Mars. She also hopes to inspire others to defy stereotypes and follow their dreams.” Ah-maz-ing!
“Luciana is our first character that’s really immersed in STEM,” said American Girl designer Rebecca Dekuiper. “We’ve had STEM products before, but we really wanted to do a whole character to show girls that STEM is cool.”
Luciana has her very own space suit, NASA uniform, and even part of a space station — a girl needs a place to work on those interstellar calculations, after all! And all of her gear got a seal of approval from actual experts who helped to create both Luciana and her backstory.
“I was able to follow Lucy through all of her story and adventures, and provide feedback from an astronaut’s perspective on the authenticity of her story and the activities that she participated in,” NASA astronaut Dr. Megan McArthur Behnken told ABC News. “I’ve been in space and fixed the Hubble space telescope, so I have some perspective on how we use robotics, how we train for robotics.”
Behnken — along with former NASA chief scientist Dr. Ellen Stofan; manager of strategic alliances at NASA, Maureen O’Brien; and the CEO of the US Space and Rocket Center, Dr. Deborah Barnhart — helped shape Luciana’s story in a three-book series that follows her during a summer at Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama.
We’re sure you’re as eager as we are to order Luciana for the little one in your life ASAP, but she won’t go on sale until January 1. And while that might seem like an eternity, it will be totally worth the wait.
Are you thrilled that American Girl chose an aspiring astronaut and STEM role model as their 2018 Girl of the Year? Let us know @BritandCo!
(Photo via GMA/YouTube)