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Famous Volunteers: Sally Ride

The first American woman in space and also the co-founder of the Girl Scouts’ Camp CEO, Sally Ride is the epitome of how sharing one’s knowledge can inspire many.

America’s first and youngest astronaut

Sally Ride was America’s first female and then youngest astronaut when, at the age of 32, she went to space on the space shuttle Challenger and was a role model to countless young girls. Not only did she inspire young girls everywhere to become avid scientists, but was a large supporter of the Girl Scouts and co-founded the Girl Scouts’ Camp CEO, which paired minority girls with professional women.

Her goal was to stimulate girls’ interest in math, science and technology

“She could have been head of a major aerospace corporation, turning her expertise into a way to make a lot of money,” said Joyce Richards, who worked with Ride while leading Girl Scouts of Northern California. “But that wasn’t her goal. Her goal was to stimulate girls’ interest in math, science and technology. She was really passionate about the idea that girls need to be taught science in new and different ways — and that girls are more engaged through connectivity, by doing things.”

Sally Ride Science

She also founded her own organization, Sally Ride Science. After 2 successful flights on the Challenger Sally Ride dedicated herself to founding Sally Ride Science, an organization that helps create engaging science programs for tweens, especially young girls. The goal of the program is to develop and provide classroom materials and professional development programs for 4th through 8th grade educators and focuses on science, technology, engineering and math education.

Sally Ride as volunteer

At a Johnson Space Center news conference after her historic flight as the first American women in space, she said: “I didn’t come into this program to be the first woman in space. I came in to get a chance to fly in space.” Sally Ride is part of a select group of celebrities that use their fame to inspire countless of women to become interested in science and has used her role as first American woman in space as a stepping stone to uplift the lives of young women and children across the globe.

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