It was a bit of a whim. Then a senior in high school, Serena Pisacano was in full college scholarship application mode when she remembered the deadline for applying to be featured on a Girl Scout cookie box. She dashed off her forms and three months later, learned she'd been selected.
"Girl Scouts has been a huge part of my life and being on the face of the cookie packaging ... I always wondered when I was selling them how you get to be on these boxes. Do they just use random photos? So when I saw the contest I was like, 'I've got to apply!' "
Now a sophomore at Earlham College in Richmond, Ind., Pisacano is the face of Lemonades and Lemon-Ups Girl Scout cookies. Clad in a hard hat and safety glasses, Pisacano and two other scouts are shown installing a solar panel.
"It's showing the Girl Scouts' connection to STEM, especially today's day and age connection to the environment," she explains. "Solar panels are awesome, they provide clean electricity better than coal electricity, and it's honestly something I could do as a career as a geology major. It's actually something I could do in real life so it's kind of cool being on there for that."
Pisacano also studies chemistry and music at Earlham. She credits Girl Scouts with teaching her how to set and achieve goals. In fact, that's one of the things she wrote about in her contest application: setting and achieving Sustainable, Manageable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely (SMART) goals.
The Philadelphia native joined scouting later than most girls; in the 6th grade. She went on to earn the Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards, the three highest awards in Girl Scouts, and enjoyed selling cookies with a smile.
Upon learning she'd been chosen to be on a cookie box, Pisacano had to keep it a secret. She traveled to a Girl Scout camp in New Jersey for the photo shoot. The video below shows a behind-the-scenes view of the filming.
The scouts selected for the new packaging didn't get to choose which cookie boxes they'd be featured on. She found out from members of her home council, Girl Scouts of Eastern Pennsylvania, who showed up at her summer camp job to surprise her with the unveiling. While Pisacano says peanut butter patties are her favorite, she says the lemon cookies are "quite good."
The whole process from application to the new packaging roll-out took about two years, Pisacano says, so she expects she could be gracing cookie boxes for a while, adding this is the first time she remembers seeing new faces on the boxes since she started selling cookies.
Pisacano would like to get involved with local troops in Wayne County. She's looking forward to an upcoming talk with local scouts and hopes that will lead to more connections.
Girl Scouts couldn't ask for a better ambassador. Pisacano exudes energy and joy when she talks about scouting. It's the kind of happiness that's infectious, rubbing off on those around her.
"Girls Scouts made me come into who I am and helped me discover things about myself," she says. "Being in an environment with all girls, it's very empowering and it's just awesome getting that opportunity and experience."