Friday, July 27, 2012

Tribute to Sally Ride, pioneer for women in science

Sally Ride has passed on to a better place. She has left behind a story, a legacy and the shadow of a woman who led the way in the crusade for women in science. Her achievements spoke for themselves.

She did not want to be known as the first female astronaut. She wanted to be known as someone who could get the job done. And I think that should be the goal of all women in science: to get the job done.

I met Sally Ride about ten years ago when the local Association for Women in Science (AWIS) chapter took a group of women up to UCLA for their Sally Ride Science Day. Ride owned a foundation that held outreach events periodically. We were lucky enough to attend one within driving distance in Los Angeles. Ride autographed my nametag and I chatted with her briefly. She gave a 1-2 hour presentation on her trip in space and on space science in general. Local schools, nonprofits and other organizations were invited to hold outreach booths at the event. Our chapter had a booth with some kind of science related to gummy worms. Although I cannot remember what we were demonstrating I remember our table was swarmed with junior high age girls.

Science marches on with the contributions and achievements of Sally Ride on its back. We can only hope the march recruits more of those like Sally Ride: those with drive to achieve, stamina to persevere and resolve to get the job done. Goodbye Sally!