ⓘ Sally Ride Science

Sally Ride Science

ⓘ Sally Ride Science

Sally Ride Science at UC San Diego is a nonprofit run by the University of California, San Diego. It was founded as a company in 2001 by Sally Ride, Americas first woman in space, along with Tam OShaughnessy, Karen Flammer, Terry McEntee, and Alann Lopes to inspire young people in science, technology, engineering, and math and to promote STEM literacy. Sally Ride Science was relaunched at UC San Diego on October 1, 2015. It is based at UC San Diego Extension, and its programs are coordinated jointly by UC San Diego Extension, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and San Diego Supercomputer Center. OShaughnessy is executive director and Flammer is director of education for Sally Ride Science at UC San Diego.


1. Programs

Sally Ride Science at UC San Diego focuses on professional development for teachers; K-12 STEM + Arts STEAM education, including courses, lectures, and camps; and online programs through UCTV. The goal is to help educators build students’ STEM literacy and make connections between what students are learning and the STEM fields that are expected to experience rapid job growth in the coming decades. The nonprofit will create new programs and make use of existing Sally Ride Science programs.

Existing programs include Cool Careers in STEM, which provides professional development for teachers and classroom resources to awaken students’ interest in STEM topics and careers. Research shows that learning about STEM careers and the diverse people working in these fields inspires students and makes the study of science, technology, engineering, and math more meaningful to them.

Another major existing program is Key Concepts in Science. This integrated standards-based program provides professional development for educators on how to teach science using the 5E instructional model, along with classroom resources that educators can use to build students’ STEM literacy and college and career readiness. The program reflects research showing that teaching fewer science concepts in greater depth gives students a solid foundation to develop STEM literacy.


2. Activities

Before its acquisition by UC San Diego, Sally Ride Science implemented a variety of STEM-related educational initiatives. The company:

  • trained more than 30.000 teachers and reached more than 6 million students with STEM and STEM careers books.
  • organized 100 Sally Ride Science Festivals on college campuses around the country.
  • created 90 STEM and STEM careers books with comprehensive teacher guides, and more than 200 hands-on STEM investigations.
  • operated EarthKAM based on Sally Rides idea to let students take photos of Earth from space and use them in their studies, engaging more than 600.000 students and their teachers in 80 countries.
  • helped spark the national discussion and shift the national perspective on the importance of involving girls and underrepresented minority students in STEM as they go through school and beyond.
  • developed and held the Sally Ride Science Academy for six years, using a train-the-trainer model.
  • created and ran a National Engineering Design TOYchallenge competition for eight years and created a documentary film Some Assembly Required following five teams of boys and girls during the 2008 competition.