Michelle "MACE" Curran

Michelle Curran has led an impressive career as a Fighter Pilot during her 13 years in the United States Air Force. From 2019 to 2021, she flew as the only female pilot for the Air Force Thunderbirds and performed for millions across the country and internationally. Before joining the Thunderbirds, Michelle was a combat-proven fighter pilot completing missions across Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. She has a passion for pushing her limits, inspiring others, and changing lives. As the Lead Solo for the Thunderbirds, Michelle realized that flying was cool, but the best part was inspiring others to overcome their fears and pursue their dreams. Since transitioning out of the military, she has founded her company, Upside Down Dreams. She is committed to empowering men and women of all ages to overcome obstacles and the fear of failure. She has inspired thousands through her passion for breaking barriers and setting the example of what can be accomplished through hard work.

“For this generation of girls, I hope…

  • They know no limits to the opportunities available to them.
  • Things that historically have been viewed as not having a place for women give them no pause when they craft their dreams.
  • They see what is possible for them in the world with no bounds and pursue those possibilities boldly with courage.
  • They chase improvement rather than perfection, find inspiration rather than envy, and are kind to themselves and others.” 


What MACE has to say about her experience:

“Girl Scouts was such an important part of my childhood. As far back as I can remember, I was part of a troop, attended camp, and eventually went on several trips. I was a pretty shy and introverted kid. Girl Scouts pushed me outside my comfort zone and allowed me to explore new challenges. As an adult, many of my hobbies center around adventure, especially in the outdoors. My love for the outdoors started early, and spending summers at Camp Birch Trails and taking a week-long canoeing trip in the Boundary Waters was a huge part of that. Through Girl Scouts, I spent several days exploring NYC and traveled to the Bahamas on a Disney Cruise! These opportunities stand out, but the highlight is all the friends I made along the way.”

“There will be days when you feel in over your head; when those days come, I challenge you to adopt this mindset. Start to associate that feeling of vulnerability with one of possibility. 

Be bold
Be brave .

If you start to make a habit of making those bold choices, you gain momentum. Before you know it, you’re unstoppable.”


“As a girl growing up, this construct in your head tells you where you belong. There are all these little signals telling us our place. I want girls to have an even level playing field and break the invisible barriers we see day in and day out. While I’m proud to be a female fighter pilot, as only 3.4% are women, I also don’t want the extra attention or want women to see themselves differently. I just want to be part of the team.  The jet doesn’t know my gender. The Air Force is a great way to see the world and parallels being a Girl Scout on a bigger scale.”

Take flight with GSNWGL!
Take flight with GSNWGL!

Help make dreams a reality for more Girl Scouts today!

We all experience self-doubt and moments of not being good enough. I’m proud to have a circle of trailblazers to look to—girls and women like our Gold Award  Girl Scouts, volunteers, board members, and alum like MACE—who show us we will figure it out along the way when the voice inside says we can’t. If our Girl Scout Research Institute (GSRI) data tells us, “Girls are watching the women in their lives to learn who they can become,” we must provide access to bold, brave female leaders. Thank you for your support and generosity. You are helping Girl Scouts become unstoppable in pursuit of their dreams!

—Kate Corey
Chief Development Officer