Barbie was helping break barriers Friday morning. As a week-long STEM Camp came to end, Astronaut Barbie was “launched" into space.
STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and math, and the camp’s goal was to inspire young girls to embrace science and technology.
A high-altitude weather balloon carrying Astronaut Barbie lifted off from Fanshawe College around the noon hour.
She rose into the stratosphere as part of an approximately three-hour flight.
Prior to the launch, Alberta-born Aerospace Engineer Natalie Panek was on hand to offer up an inspiring message to those attending the camp.
"My one key message is never stop learning, dream big and reach for the stars."
Steve VanWinder, the STEM Camp’s executive director, says, "Typically our camps are attended more by boys than girls and we really want to change that perception."
On this day Barbie was being used to encourage girls to pursue STEM subjects. This year marks the 60th anniversary of the classic Mattel toy.
Barbie has faced criticism for projecting an image of beauty and body type that didn't reflect the girls who were buying the toys, or their aspirations.
But Barbie has evolved and the youngsters were given a free Astronaut Barbie to illustrate that women can achieve anything they put their minds to.
Lisa Perry is Mattel Canada’s Barbie brand manager, “We want to help close the dream gap and show girls that they have the same capability as boys, that they can go into STEM careers."
Of course, there are some impressive real-life role models when it comes to women in space. Russian Cosmonaut Valentina Tareshkova became the first woman in space in 1963.
In 1983, Sally Ride became the first American woman in space.
And Roberta Bondar became Canada's first female astronaut in 1992.
Ten-year-old Cassie Ormsby is an aspiring environmentalist, “It’s important to have a role model to say that you can do anything if you believe in it."
Barbie's time in space was brief, the entire flight lasting about three hours.