Sally Ride Science at UC San Diego is a nonprofit entity run by the University of California, San Diego. It was founded as a company in 2001 by Sally Ride, America's first woman in space, along with Tam O'Shaughnessy, Karen Flammer, Terry McEntee, and Alann Lopes to inspire young people in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) 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 the San Diego Supercomputer Center. O'Shaughnessy is executive director and Flammer is director of education for Sally Ride Science at UC San Diego.
Sally Ride Science at UC San Diego focuses on professional development for teachers; K12 STEM + Arts (STEaM) education; 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 (student books, teacher guides, and a STEM Career Connections Teacher Activity Guide) 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 (student books, hands-on investigations, teacher guides, and assessments) 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.
Sally Ride Science Programs and Activities, 2001-2015
Before its acquisition by UC San Diego, Sally Ride Science implemented a variety of STEM-related educational initiatives. The company:
- organized 100 Sally Ride Science Festivals on college campuses around the country.
- created and ran a national engineering design competition (TOYchallenge) for eight years and created a documentary film (Some Assembly Required) following five teams of boys and girls during the 2008 competition.
- created 90 STEM and STEM careers books with comprehensive teacher guides, and more than 200 hands-on STEM investigations.
- developed and held the Sally Ride Science Academy for six years, using a train-the-trainer model.
- trained more than 30,000 teachers and reached more than 6 million students with books about STEM and STEM careers.
- operated EarthKAM (based on Sally Ride's 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.