Sally Ride Science Junior Academy Lands $30,000 Grant for Scholarships

Sally Ride @ UC San Diego has been awarded a $30,000 grant that will allow it to give scholarships to middle and high school girls attending the Sally Ride Science Junior Academy.

The grant from the San Francisco-based Hellman Foundation will fund scholarships over the next three years for the program launching this summer with a slate of workshops in science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) aimed at young women in middle school and high school.

"Our goal is to inspire them to stick with their natural interest in STEAM and to consider STEAM careers," said Tam O'Shaughnessy, Sally Ride @ UC San Diego executive director, co-founder and Ride's longtime partner.

The program is the result of a partnership between the University of California San Diego and Sally Ride Science, an education company that Ride and O'Shaughnessy co-founded with three friends in 2001. Ride, the first American woman in space, was committed to expanding educational opportunities in the sciences, especially for girls and young women.

Offerings at the academy scheduled July 11-29 will include a variety of STEAM courses where students can immerse themselves in hands-on projects, assuming the roles of a geophysicist, ocean engineer, computer scientist and beyond. The workshops also will incorporate real-life stories of individuals conducting research in each discipline with the goal of inspiring students to pursue careers in STEAM fields.

Workshop topics include the science of earthquakes, space exploration, oceanography, robotics, 3D modeling and video game programming. Each workshop will include a three-hour session — in either the morning or the afternoon — each day for a week. Cost of a workshop is $150 and more information on the Junior Academy, as well as scholarships, is available.

Sally Ride Science @ UC San Diego also offers professional development to teachers; K-12 STEAM courses, lectures and events; and online programming via UCTV, a television station with programming from the University of California system. The program is conducted through collaboration among three divisions of the university: Extension, San Diego Supercomputer Center and Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

Ride was among the first six women chosen to join the astronaut corps. She was aboard the space shuttle U.S.S. Challenger when it launched in 1983 as the first American woman to go into space. After retiring from NASA, she joined UC San Diego's faculty as a professor of physics. She also served as CEO of Sally Ride Science until her death from pancreatic cancer in 2012.

The Hellman Foundation was founded in 2011 by financier Warren Hellman to support education, youth development, health and basic needs.

About the Author

Michael Hart is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer and the former executive editor of THE Journal.