Centennial Hills Girl Scout slated for billboard fame

Girl Scout cookies are a much-adored sign of the late winter season.

But behind the rows of indulgent sweets are the faces of young women setting and reaching goals thanks to the Girl Scouts of Southern Nevada .

Meet Alyssa D’Anduono . The 11-year-old Centennial Hills resident is a fifth-grader at Bilbray Elementary School , 9370 Brent Lane , and a four-year Girl Scout.

For a moment in time, Alyssa will be a local celebrity of sorts. Through Sunday , Alyssa’s face is set to be on billboards around town.

Alyssa is one of five local Girl Scouts featured in an advertising campaign about how the popular cookie sale enriches lives. She aspires to be an engineer one day thanks to the Girl Scouts of Southern Nevada ‘s Lego Robotics program.

Alyssa said she’s drawn to engineering because she likes computers, math and science. A typical robotics event involves programming a Lego robot to master an obstacle course with precise angles and degrees, she said.

Last year, Alyssa and her team won the Judge’s Award for Critical Thinking at a Girl Scouts robotics event.

“In science, I like experimenting on things, and in math, I like to figure out problems,” she said.

The preteen’s clear-cut take on her newfound passion is aligned with the Girl Scouts of Southern Nevada ‘s goals for its members, chief marketing and development officer Emily Smith said.

“Girls are underrepresented in the sciences,” she said. “We’re taking a particular interest in science and healthy living and building leadership. Alyssa is a good example of that.”

Studies show that young women veer away from pursuits in mathematics and science around fourth and fifth grades, Smith said.

“It’s not that they can’t do it, but they might not be in the right environments to be exposed to those,” she said.

Alyssa practices with robotics teams weekly through the Girl Scouts of Southern Nevada and her school. Her dad helps coach one of her teams and her mom, Janet D’Anduono , leads her Girl Scout troop.

“We’re a lot more than cookies,” D’Anduono. “(Girl Scouts) teaches them to have more self-esteem, to be more career-oriented and have leadership skills. It’s very enriching.”

Alyssa and her fellow tough cookie scouts are in the midst of the 2012 cookie sale. The troop has a goal to sell 2,000 boxes and plans to use its earnings for a leadership camping trip, D’Anduono said.

The Scouts receive 75 to 85 cents per $4 box of cookies for their troop to allocate on a project or incentive, Smith said. An additional $2 per box is used for the Girl Scouts of Southern Nevada ‘s outreach programs.

Alyssa’s involvement in the cookie sale campaign is also part of a 100th anniversary of the Girl Scouts program. Local girls are slated to be featured in a campaign this spring for a Girl Scout camp campaign, Smith said.

Alyssa said she and her family have visited and documented a billboard with her face on it. But notoriety hasn’t yet reached her classroom, she said.

“Not everybody has seen it,” she said. “But it’s still cool.”

For more information, visit girlscoutsnv.org/global/her-story-alyssa-danduono .

Contact Centennial and North Las Vegas View reporter Maggie Lillis at mlillis@viewnews.com or 477-3839.

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