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Sally Ride

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Sally Ride — astronaut and STEM education advocate


Sally Ride (1951-2012) was the first American woman to fly in space. She became widely known for her passionate advocacy for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education.

Ride earned bachelor’s degrees in physics and English, and master’s and doctoral degrees in physics at Stanford.

She served on the commissions investigating the Challenger explosion in 1986 and the Columbia disaster in 2003. Ride was a professor of physics at the University of California-San Diego and director of the California Space Institute. She founded Sally Ride Science to motivate girls and boys to study science and to explore careers in STEM. She also co-wrote seven science books for children. Ride was a member of the President’s Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology, and the National Research Council’s Space Studies Board. She received the Presidential Medal of Freedom posthumously in 2013.