Sally K. Ride, Ph.D., a former NASA Astronaut and the first American woman in space, is the 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 math, science and technology. The company creates programs and publications for girls that engage them and encourage their interests.
Dr. Ride grew up in Los Angeles, California. She attended Stanford University where she earned her B.S. in Physics and B.A in English in 1973, and her M.S. and Ph.D. in Physics in 1975 and 1978, respectively. Shortly thereafter, she was selected for NASA's astronaut corps. Her first space flight was aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger in 1983; her second was also aboard Challenger, in 1984. During those flights, she deployed communications satellites, operated the robot arm, and conducted experiments in materials, pharmaceuticals, and Earth remote-sensing.
Training for her third spaceflight was interrupted by the Space Shuttle Challenger accident. Dr. Ride served as a member of the Presidential Commission investigating the accident, and chaired its subcommittee on Operations. She then served as NASA's first director of Strategic Planning, producing a report entitled "Leadership and America's Future in Space." She also created, and was the first Director of, NASA's Office of Exploration.
In 1989, Dr. Ride joined the faculty at UCSD as a Professor of Physics and Director of the University of California's California Space Institute. In 2001 she founded her own company, Sally Ride Science, to pursue her long-time passion: motivating girls and young women to pursue careers in science, math and technology.
Long an advocate for improved science education, Dr Ride has written five science books for children: To Space and Back; Voyager; The Third Planet; The Mystery of Mars and Exploring Our Solar System. She has also initiated and directed education projects designed to fuel middle school students’ fascination with science.
Dr. Ride has been a member of the President's Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology and the National Research Council's Space Studies Board, and has served on the Boards of the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment, the Carnegie Institution of Washington, and the NCAA Foundation. She is a member of the Corporate Directors’ Forum, and has served on the Boards of Apple, Veridian and the Mitre Corporation. Dr. Ride is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, a member of the Pacific Council on International Policy, and currently serves on the Boards of the Aerospace Corporation and the California Institute of Technology. She is the only person to have served on the Commissions investigating both the Space Shuttle Challenger and Columbia accidents.
Dr. Ride has received numerous honors and awards. She has been inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame and the Astronaut Hall of Fame, and has received the Jefferson Award for Public Service, the von Braun Award, the Lindbergh Eagle, and the NCAA’s Theodore Roosevelt Award. She has also twice been awarded the National Spaceflight Medal and recently inducted into the California Hall of Fame.