SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — A local Girl Scout has been awarded with a badge that traveled to outer space and back after winning a National Girl Scout Essay Contest.

Girl Scout Cadette and eighth-grader, Charlotte DuBois of Baldwinsville, is one of 81 winners from across the country of the “Girl Scouts to the Moon and Back” national essay contest.

DuBois is part of the NYPENN Pathways (GSNYPENN) Council and in her essay, she had to share how she saw her role in space exploration using creative writing skills and research facts from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

After winning, she was awarded a Girl Scout badge that traveled 1.4 million miles to the moon and back aboard NASA’s Artemis I mission in late 2022.

On Saturday, April 22 at Onondaga Community College (OCC), Charlotte was presented with her Space Science Researcher badge by retired NASA astronaut and United States Air Force Colonel, Eileen Collins, during a special event for Girl Scouts.

Col. Collins, also a Girl Scout alum, was chosen to present the badge as she has local ties being from Elmira and a graduate of SUNY Corning Community College and Syracuse University. Col. Collin’s experience as a flight instructor and test pilot in the Air Force and being the first woman to pilot the Space Shuttle and to command a Space Shuttle mission made her the perfect role model to present the special badge to DuBois.

“Touching something that has flown around the moon and back is really moving and makes you realize that so much is possible! It was a really cool experience meeting Col. Collins. She brings so much positivity and hope for women with her inspiring stories of being an aviator and commanding the Space Shuttle. Plus, shaking hands with an astronaut is pretty amazing,” said Charlotte.

The partnership between NASA and Girl Scouts is an ideal match, as according to GSNYPENN, Girl Scouts’ commitment to encouraging girls to discover and excel in STEM fields has yielded real results. Data shows that Girl Scouts are almost twice as likely as non–Girl Scouts to participate in STEM activities (60 percent versus 35 percent), and 77 percent of girls say that because of Girl Scouts, they are considering a career in technology.

“We’re ‘over the moon’ that Charlotte received this special recognition,” says GSNYPENN CEO Julie Dale. “Our mission at Girl Scouts is to build girls of courage, confidence, and character who pursue their dreams. Charlotte exemplifies that and we encourage her to keep aiming high.”