NEW YORK (AP) " Sylvia Acevedo, who earned a science badge as a Girl Scout and later became a rocket scientist and entrepreneur, was appointed Wednesday as CEO of the Girl Scouts of the USA. A top priority, she said, would be to stem a sharp decline in the organization's membership.

Acevedo had been serving as the interim CEO since last June while the GSUSA conducted an extensive search for a new permanent leader. In the end, the national board decided she was the best choice, depicting her as "a long-time champion for girls' and women's causes."

Acevedo grew up near Las Cruces, New Mexico, and joined a Brownie troop there in the 1960s. She says her mother got help from troop leaders in practicing her English and passing her U.S. citizenship test.