Dr. Sally Ride

Sally K. Ride: Panel Discussion

Dr. Sally Ride
Dr. Sally Ride

Dr. Sally Ride

Sally K. Ride: Panel Discussion

A former NASA astronaut and the first American woman in space, president and CEO of Sally Ride Science, and a professor of physics at the University of California, San Diego (currently on leave). Sally Ride Science is a company dedicated to supporting girls’ interests in mathematics, science, and technology. The company creates programs and publications for girls that engage them and encourage their interests.

Event Details

2006 - 2007 Season

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Speaker Bio

Following graduation from Stanford University with a bachelor’s degree in English and bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in physics, Sally Ride was selected as an astronaut candidate by NASA. Her first flight as a mission specialist, in 1983, was the second flight of the Orbiter Challenger; her second flight as a mission specialist took place the next year. When the Space Shuttle Challenger accident temporarily terminated mission training, Ride was assigned to NASA Headquarters as Special Assistant to the Administrator for long-range and strategic planning.

In 1989, Ride joined the faculty of the University of California at San Diego as a professor of physics and director of the University of California’s California Space Institute. In 2001, she founded Sally Ride Science to pursue her long-time passion for motivating girls and young women to pursue careers in science, mathematics, and technology. An advocate for improved science education, Ride has written science books for young readers and has initiated and directed education projects designed to fuel middle-school students’ fascination with science.

Ride has served on the President’s Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology and the National Research Council’s Space Studies Board, as well as the boards of the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment and the Carnegie Institution of Washington. She is a member of the Pacific Council on International Policy and a Fellow of the American Physical Society.

Discussion Topics

Developed by the Ride faculty team for her campus visit

Commercialization and privatization of the Space Program and education. What is the future of the space program as there is an increased push to put the average citizen into space?

What areas might we identify than can inspire young people to develop a passion for learning in the way the space program did for sciences and math?

To what extent should lifestyle issues, such as physical education, be part of the curriculum? How can a modern education ensure our students have a lifelong commitment to health and wellness?

In the 21st century, what will be the core sciences needed for a liberal education?

What will be the role of gender in education, and in the sciences?

How does the liberal arts system and the educational department work to better prepare teachers for the 21st century?


Dr. Lewis Duncan, President & Cornell Professor of Distinguished Presidential Leadership

Dr. Fiona Harper, Assistant Professor of Biology