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2018 ‘Girl Of The Year’ Doll Is An Aspiring Astronaut

Photo from American Girl

The doll company American Girl will release its latest “Girl of the Year” on January 1: Luciana Vega, an 11-year-old girl from Chile who dreams of being the first person to reach Mars.

This 18-inch doll is the newest addition to the company’s popular line of collectibles, and comes with her own authentic NASA spacesuit, among other accessories, Digital Trends reports.

The Girl of the Year dolls are a famous series marketed for preteen girls, and Luciana Vega just might be the most celebrated yet. American Girl has been selling dolls with extensive back stories since 1986, and the company started the “Girl of the Year” collection in 2001. In a statement announcing this new addition, American Girl said that the line of dolls is meant to create inspiring characters for molding future leaders.

Katy Dickson, American Girl president, said,

Luciana is a role model for today’s girls — empowering them to defy stereotypes, and embrace risks that will teach them about failure and success as they chart their own course in life — whatever the goal.

Luciana Vega was unveiled on Good Morning America to a crowd of excited girls wearing Space Camp jumpsuits. Rebecca Dekuiper, the doll’s designer, said, “Luciana is our first character that’s really immersed in STEM. We’ve had STEM products before, but we really wanted to do a whole character to show girls that STEM is cool.”

American Girl got NASA on board this project. An advisory consisting of four members, including astronaut Dr. Megan McArthur Behnken, assisted the company in developing the doll. She hopes that Luciana Vega will motivate girls to pursue careers in STEM.

Behnken said, “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. I’ve been in space and fixed the Hubble telescope so I have some perspective on how we use robotics, how we train for robotics.”

A companion book series authored by Erin Teague details Luciana’s story from Space Camp in Alabama to her time as an astronaut trainee. In addition, American Girl has a partnership with Blast Off to Discovery, an educational series for third- through fifth-grade students.

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