Aspiring astronaut is American Girl's 2018 Girl of the Year

  • Aspiring astronaut is American Girl's 2018 Girl of the Year

Aspiring astronaut is American Girl's 2018 Girl of the Year

The newest member of the American Girl doll family has brains, beauty and out-of-the-world ambition. After the new doll was revealed, the "GMA" audience and girls were surprised with a doll of their own.

The ABC story that accompanied the doll's debut also reported the doll's tie-in with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education: "Luciana is our first character that's really immersed in STEM", Rebecca DeKuiper, a designer at American Girl, said in a video about the making of Luciana. "For us, it's all about building girls of strong character, and it's why we're continuing to encourage girls to lead change". The space agency's involvement comes via a Space Agency Agreement, NASA explains.

In line with that, girls will also be able to unlock exclusive content in Luciana's realm for the first time ever, like space simulations and videos when the doll and her full product line of "STEM-inspired outfits and accessories" launch online and in stores January 1. MY GOD, what I would have done to get this doll in 1996.

Among the women the company worked with were Dr. Megan McArthur Behnken, a NASA Astronaut; Dr. Ellen Stofan, former NASA chief scientist; Dr. Deborah Barnhart, CEO of the U.S. Space and Rocket Center; and Maureen O'Brien, the manager of strategic alliances at NASA. Never let anyone tell you girls don't do space stuff.

"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", Behnken said.

For its part, NASA provided American Girl with its input for the doll company's upcoming related book series, as well as reviewing the NASA-themed merchandise and providing experts for the company's advisory board.

American Girl got its start in the 1980s by selling historical dolls (shout out to Samantha!) their stories, and time period-appropriate outfits and accessories, but later added contemporary dolls and more modern gear.

The upscale doll, book and accessories company has about 470 employees in Middleton. Last year, a doll called Gabriela McBride - a dancer, artist and poet - became the first African-American "Girl of the Year". More importantly, they made Lea a tiny sloth.