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How Girl Scouts Led Her to a Career in Space

Like others in her field, Gold Award Girl Scout Erica Raine’s love for space started as a kid. Dreams of becoming an astronaut crossed her mind like shooting stars, and her family’s background in engineering inspired her career path from an early age. Raine would go on to earn a master’s degree in aerospace engineering at the University of Colorado Boulder, and of all of her favorite collegiate memories, she thinks fondly of the time she (safely) built a hybrid rocket engine in her basement during senior year.

Today, Raine is the program manager at Aerojet Rocketdyne, an American rocket and missile manufacturer with clients like NASA and the U.S. Department of Defense. And Raine’s not building rocket engines in her basement anymore: She’s overseeing rocket engines being launched into space.

As a mother of two young children and the lead of a team with a large network, Raine says she credits Girl Scouts for giving her exposure to leadership skills early in life. Starting in second grade, Raine took on a leadership role in her troop, planning menus and lists for camping outings. As she entered her high school years, she would live for the Girl Scouts Leader in Training Workshop weekends, where they focused on icebreakers, team building, and commanding a room. Fast-forward many years later, Raine says she implements those leadership lessons into her work today, which has earned her coveted honors throughout her career, like NASA’s Silver Snoopy Award.

In this interview, Raine unveils how she’s still using the Girl Scout leadership tools she was empowered with as a girl, and how they've commingled with the fascinating arena that is aerospace.


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