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Shelton Girl Scout Junior Wins National Rocketry Award

October 14, 2011

Shelton Girl Scout Junior Nicole Frese took home top honors in the National Reach for the Stars Rocket Competition, as a result of her first-place finish during a Girl Scout rocket launch event at the Riverwalk in Shelton. Her rocket landed the closest to the target due to her angle and wind calculations, placing her first nationally in her age group.

Frese was honored in October at the October Sky Festival in West Virginia. She had the opportunity to meet Homer Hickam, the original “Rocket Boy” who inspired the book and movie, “October Sky,” and was presented her award alongside two current astronauts.

Frese participated in a Design and Discovery Day of Rocketry in May of 2011. During this program, made possible through a grant from Bruce N. Griffing Trust, 140 Girl Scouts each designed and launched two different types of rockets using regular household materials as propellants, and built her own 15-inch model rocket. In June, the 15-inch model rockets were launched by the girls towards a target at the Riverwalk, with Frese’s rocket coming in first overall.

Ellyn Savard, Program Initiatives Manager, entered Frese’s results into the national competition, receiving the news in August about the win.

“The intention of the program was to engage girls in physics and chemistry and have them interact with positive female role models,” Savard said. “The national win was a bonus, but a bonus that may have influenced the direction of Nicole’s life.”

These rocketry programs are one of many offered under Girl Scouts of Connecticut’s STEM initiative, focusing on four key fields in which girls and women are underrepresented: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. This initiative seeks to introduce more girls to these fields, presenting them with female role models and teaching them problem-solving skills and confidence to succeed. As a part of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience, programs such as these help a girl discover new things about herself and others, connect with new friends and learn about other cultures and places, and to take action by finding ways to make their community or the world a better place.

Frese’s path of discovery has now led her to dream of the unexplored world of outer space.

“Science is my favorite subject,” Frese said. “I want to grow up and go to the moon.”

Pictures are available upon request.

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