They're each famous for different reasons. But as kids, these women wore the same uniform.
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Girl Scouts

When was the last time a Girl Scout inspired you to follow your dreams?

If your answer involves dreaming of Girl Scout cookies, then I don't blame you — getting your hands on those Thin Mints can be a real motivator.

But what you may not realize is that Girl Scouts have influenced the world in much bigger ways that don't involve their awesome cookies. In fact, some Girl Scouts have changed the course of history.


We're talking astronauts, political leaders, activists, and more. Girl Scouts of the USA reports that an incredible 64% of today's American women leaders were once Girl Scouts.

Image via Girl Scouts of the USA.

This organization helps girls understand what they're capable of by giving them badges for accomplishments in areas such as entrepreneurship, citizenship, and STEM. The girls practice an incredible range of skills, from running a business to creating art to tackling cybersecurity.

And if their roster of prominent former scouts is any indication, every Girl Scout is capable of greatness. Here's a look at seven of them.

1. Lucille Ball created her own space in an industry that hadn't yet made space for her.

When a Girl Scout named Elizabeth dressed up as Lucille Ball in 2017, she wasn't just wearing a costume. Ball was a former Girl Scout, and Elizabeth was portraying her spirit and determination in a Girl Scout photo shoot celebrating Women's History Month.

Lucille Ball cracked people up with her wacky physical comedy, her expressive face, and her "I Love Lucy" character's knack for getting into hilariously troublesome situations. And while audiences laughed, Ball was making history.

She became one of the first female comic leads on television and often defied traditional gender stereotypes in her role. "I Love Lucy" was also a massive hit, ranking as the #1 show in the country for four of its six seasons.

Off-screen, Ball was also a trailblazer. She and Desi Arnaz co-owned the production studio Desilu Productions until she bought out his shares and ran it on her own. That made her the first woman to run a major television studio. And the hits that came later on her lot, like "The Dick Van Dyke Show," "Star Trek," and "Mission: Impossible," show that she did a fantastic job.

2. Tammy Duckworth changed what it means to be a United States senator.

In this digital age, nearly all of our senators are on Twitter, and if you follow Tammy Duckworth's account, you might have seen messages like this one: "Thanks, @girlscouts, for teaching me leadership skills I use in the Senate everyday."

Duckworth still has her Girl Scout uniform and sash, which carries an impressive number of badges. The skills she learned to earn those badges no doubt helped her become the incredible trailblazer she is today.

In fact, Duckworth just can't stop making history. She served as a U.S. Army helicopter pilot in Iraq, where she lost her legs in a 2004 grenade attack. In 2012, she became the first woman with a disability elected to the U.S. House of Representatives and the first member of Congress born in Thailand.

Image via U.S. Senate Photographic Studio/Renee Bouchard/Wikimedia Commons.

And in 2016, she was elected to her current position, making her the second ever Asian-American woman senator.

Then Duckworth did something that the Founding Fathers probably never saw coming. In April 2018, she became the first U.S. senator to give birth while in office. At just 10 days old, baby Maile followed in her mom's footsteps by making history of her own as the first newborn to grace the Senate floor.

3. Katie Couric broke into the boys' club of nightly news anchors.

When the Girl Scouts reached their 100th anniversary in 2012, news anchor Katie Couric went all out to celebrate them. She wrote about the organization on her ABC blog, interviewed Girl Scouts on her show, and even donned a vintage Girl Scout uniform for the occasion.

"Girl Scouts taught me some of the basic and essential principles and values that I still hold dear today, like being truthful, helpful, and independent," she said in 2012.

Couric has demonstrated these values throughout her career as a journalist by bringing attention to important issues, including colon cancer and gun violence. She's also held top anchor positions at all of the three major television networks: ABC, NBC, and CBS.

Image via Girl Scouts of the USA.

Breaking into the news industry's boys' club took some time, but she never gave up. She started at the ABC News bureau in 1979 and eventually became the host of the CBS Evening News in 2006, making her the first solo woman anchor among the "big three" weekday nightly news broadcasts, according to Reuters.

Now, as a Television Hall of Famer and a New York Times bestselling author, Couric continues to use her platform to show girls that it's possible to overcome the obstacles they face.

4. Susan Collins has set the second longest consecutive voting streak in the Senate.

Growing up in Caribou, Maine, now-Sen. Susan Collins had some great role models: Both her parents served as the mayors of her hometown. Not only that, but she was also a Girl Scout with some amazing troop leaders who inspired her to always persevere toward her goals. "[Girl Scouts] helps to build strong women," Collins told a young scout who interviewed her in 2014.

In 1994, when Collins ran for governor, she became the first woman to become a nominee for a major party in Maine. Then, in 1996, Collins was elected to the Senate, and she has kept her seat ever since.

Image via U.S. Senate Photographic Studio/Wikimedia Commons.

Collins is now the most senior Republican woman in the Senate. She has spent her time focusing on causes including Alzheimer's research, diabetes research, and support for small businesses. In fact, Collins has had a say in every single one of the more than 6,600 decisions that the Senate has voted on since 1996 because she has never missed a vote. In 2015, she even broke her ankle running in heels to make sure she cast a vote.

Collins is also proud to be one of 73% of women senators who were once Girl Scouts. "That to me just proves that Girl Scouts learn leadership ability, have confidence in themselves, and learn to work together as a team," she said.

5. Dolores Huerta gave us the rallying cry we need to make the world a better place.

When civil rights icon Dolores Huerta steps up to a microphone, you'd never guess that she was once a shy child. However, in a 2009 interview, Huerta credited Girl Scouts for helping her come out of her shell and learn to speak in public.

"In Girl Scouts, I learned how to be strong, to believe in myself, and to be open to new ideas," Huerta wrote to young girls.

Image via Girl Scouts of the USA.

It's no wonder she ended up coining the rallying cry "Sí se puede" — Spanish for "Yes, we can." Her work as a community organizer began in the 1960s and became a blueprint for how many activists mobilize today.

Through her advocacy for women's rights, workers' rights, and immigrant rights, Huerta influenced labor laws that we still have today. She co-founded the United Farm Workers, a labor union for farmworkers in the United States, with Cesar Chavez.

Huerta is often hailed as an inspiration for activist movements and has received a number of major awards including the 2012 Presidential Medal of Freedom. She was a Girl Scout from the ages of 8 to 18. At the age of 83, she was still continuing her community organizing work as president of the Dolores Huerta foundation.

6. Susan Wojcicki has carved out much-needed space for women and girls in tech.

Susan Wojcicki was only 11 years old when she started her first business: She went door to door selling homemade "spice ropes" made with braided yarn.

Since then, Wojcicki has proved herself as a go-getter in the world of business. For example, you may have heard of a "little" company known as Google — which started with co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin in her garage in 1998. And as the company's first marketing manager, she became known as the most important person in advertising.

Image via Girl Scouts of the USA.

Wojcicki eventually became the CEO of YouTube, the second most popular website in the world — just behind its parent company, Google.

She uses her influential position to help other women and girls get into tech by collaborating with the Girl Scouts of the USA, an organization she was once a proud member of herself. She mentors Girl Scouts who are working to earn their cybersecurity badges, and she also leads Google's Made with Code, an initiative to inspire girls to get involved with tech activities like coding and 3D printing.

7. Queen Latifah is leaving her mark on every corner of the entertainment world.

Name a major award for entertainers, and Queen Latifah probably has a win or a nomination for it.

She first made her mark on the entertainment world as a rapper, releasing her first hip-hop album in 1989 at the age of 19 and kicking off her success as an MC. This is especially remarkable considering how much men have dominated the hip-hop scene. And now, she's also known for her work on television and in movies, including the 1990s hit sitcom "Living Single," the 1996 film "Set It Off," and more recently, the massively successful 2017 film "Girls Trip."

Image via Girl Scouts of the USA.

Throughout her career, she has earned a Grammy Award, a Golden Globe Award, an Emmy Award, three Screen Actors Guild Awards, and an Academy Award nomination. But before she released that very first album, Queen Latifah was a Girl Scout and earning badges for her sash.

Today Latifah clearly appreciates Girl Scouts for helping start off on the right foot. She narrated this video to celebrate the Girl Scouts tradition of "Preparing girls for a lifetime of leadership."

These actresses, musicians, scientists, and politicians all have one thing in common.

Posted by Upworthy on Thursday, July 26, 2018

Perhaps the next time a woman in comedy makes you laugh or a piece of digital technology leaves you in awe, you'll think of the Girl Scouts.

Being a Girl Scout helped these women develop their leadership skills, confidence, and ambitious attitudes. In order to earn Girl Scout badges, they had to prove themselves capable of helping people. And they've certainly done so in their careers by inspiring countless other women to forge their own paths across a wide range of industries, including sports, science, philanthropy, and business.

What's more, they all uphold the Girl Scouts value of making the world a better place.

Keep their stories in mind the next time you see a Girl Scout — you might be looking at one of our future leaders.

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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The battle between millennials and older generations isn't exactly a generational war—it's more a case of mistaken generational identity. A decade ago, whining about millennials being young adults unprepared to make their way in the world at least made sense mathematically. But when people bag on millennials now they end up looking rather foolish.

A marketing researcher with a doctorate in social psychology wrote an op-ed for the Chicago Tribune titled "Post-pandemic, some millennials finally decide to start #adulting." And when the Tribune shared it to Twitter, their since-deleted tweet read, "Writer Jennifer Rosner predicts COVID-10 lockdowns will force easy-breezy millennials to grow up."

Hoo boy.

Interestingly, the writer of the op-ed is a millennial herself, but she repeats generalizations about her entire generation that seem like they mainly apply to her own social circle. Read it yourself to decide, but regardless, the tweet of the op-ed itself set off a firestorm of responses from millennials who are tired of being painted as irresponsible young people who don't know how to "adult" instead of what they actually are.

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2020 was difficult (to say the least). The year was full of life changes, losses, and lessons as we learned to navigate the "new normal." You may have questions about what the changes and challenges of 2020 mean for your taxes. That's where TurboTax Live comes in, making it easy to connect with real tax experts to help with your taxes – or even do them for you, start to finish.

Not only has TurboTax Live helped millions of people get their taxes done right, but this year they've also celebrated people who uplifted their communities during a difficult time by surprising them with "little lifts" to help out even more.

Here are a few of their stories:


Julz, hairdresser and salon owner

"As a hairdresser and salon owner, 2020 was extremely challenging," says Julz. "Being a hairdresser has historically been a recession-proof industry, but we've never faced global shut down due to health risk, or pandemic, not in my lifetime. And for the first time, hairdressers didn't have job security."

Julz had to shut down her salon and go on unemployment benefits for the first time. She also had to figure out how she was going to support herself, her staff and her business during this difficult time. But many other beauty industry professionals didn't have access to the resources they needed, so Julz decided to help.

"My business partner and I began teaching basic financial literacy to other beauty industry professionals," she says. "Transitioning our business from behind the chair to an online academy was a challenge we tackled head-on so that we could move hairdressers into this new space of education, and create a more accessible curriculum to better serve our industry.

Julz connected with a TurboTax Live expert who helped her understand how unemployment affected her taxes and gave her guidance on filing quarterly estimated taxes for her small business. "I was terrified to sit at a computer and tackle this mess of receipts," Julz says, so "it was great to have some virtual handholding to walk me through each question."

In addition to giving Julz the personalized tax advice she needed, TurboTax Live surprised her with a "little lift" that empowered her to help even more beauty professionals. "When my tax expert Diana surprised me with a little lift, I was moved to tears," says Julz. "With that little lift, I was able to establish a scholarship fund to help get other hairdressers the education they deserve."


Alana, new mom

Alana welcomed her first child in 2020. "I think my biggest challenge was figuring out how to be a mom, with no guidance," she says. "My original plan was to have my mom by my side, teaching me the ropes, but because of COVID, she wasn't able to come out here."

She was also without a job for most of 2020 and struggled to find something new.

So, Alana took it as a sign: she decided to launch her own business so she could support her new baby, and that's exactly what she did. She started a feel-good company that specializes in creating affirmation card decks — and she's currently in the process of starting a second, video-editing business.

TurboTax Live answered Alana's questions about her taxes and gave her some much-needed advice as she prepared to launch her businesses. Thanks to their "little lift," they provided her with a little emotional support too.

"I got my mom a plane ticket to finally [have her] meet [my daughter] for her first birthday," Alana says. "I was also able to get a new computer," which helped her invest in her new business and work on her video editing skills. "It's helped my family and me so much," she says.


Michael, science teacher

When schools shut down across the country last year, Michael had to learn how to adapt to a virtual classroom.

"As a teacher, I had to completely revamp everything," he says, so that he could keep his students engaged while teaching online. "At the beginning, it was a nightmare because I had no idea. I had to go from A-Z within a couple of weeks."

Michael's TurboTax Live expert answered his questions about how working from home affected his taxes and helped him uncover surprising tax deductions. To top it all off, his expert surprised him with brand new science equipment and supplies, which allowed him to create an entire line of classes on YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook. "Now I can truly potentially reach millions of children with my lessons," he says. "I would never have taken that leap if not for the little lift from TurboTax Live."



Ricky, motivational youth speaker

As a motivational speaker, Ricky was used to doing his job in person, but, he says, "when COVID-19 hit, it altered my ability to travel and visit schools in person [because] schools moved to fully virtual or hybrid models."

He knew he had to pivot — so he began offering small virtual group workshops for student leadership groups at middle and high schools.

"This allowed me to work with student leaders to plan how they would continue making a positive impact on their school community," he says. He wasn't sure how being remote would affect his taxes, but TurboTax Live Self-Employed gave him the advice and answers that he needed to keep more money in his pocket at tax time — and the little lift he received from them has helped him serve even more students.

"[It] has been a major blessing," he says "There will be multiple schools and student groups from across the country that I can hold leadership workshops with to empower them with the tools to be inspirational leaders in their school, community, and world."

Plus, he says, it was great knowing he had an expert to help him figure out how being remote affected his taxes. "I felt confident and assured in the process of filing my taxes knowing I had an expert working with me, says Ricky. "There were things my expert knew that I would not have considered when filing on my own."

Filing your taxes doesn't have to be intimidating, especially after a year like 2020. TurboTax Live experts can give you the "little lift" you need to get your taxes done. File with the help of an expert or let an expert file for you! Go to TurboTax Live to get started.