Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Happy Birthday, Sally!

Today as I was doing homework in my homeroom, my mom texted me: "You should look at the Google homepage!" Google occasionally makes clever banners on the search engine for famous people's birthdays or notable events, and so I was excited to see what they'd be representing today. I found this as the banner of choice:

Sally Ride as portrayed on the International Space Station

Today is what would have been Sally Ride's 64th birthday, and I thought the "Google Doodle" truly encapsulated how much of an inspiration Ride was. (To those who don't know, Sally Ride was the first American woman to go into space.) The search engine rotated through five scenes that depicted various events from Ride's life, such as her journey to the International Space Station as well as a doodle showing her giving a lecture. They all were moving portraits, and I loved refreshing the page just to see what Google had come up with to commemorate this woman's wonderfully fantastic life.

Not only was Ride an astronaut, but she also had an important role on Earth as well - encouraging young women to go into STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) in school. Women in STEM is a very important topic to me, and I wrote a term paper on it this semester. In any case, Ride founded the Sally Ride Science program in 2001 to "to inspire young people in STEM and to promote STEM literacy" (Sally Ride Science). Not only does it offer science camps for young people, the program has also funded "Sally Ride EarthKam," which, when in use upon the ISS, allows middle school students to submit places they'd like the astronauts to photograph for in-class use. I think the program is a great way to get young people, boys or girls, interested in the sciences. One of her most famous remarks was, "You can't be what you can't see," - if there is no one showing you that anyone can become an astronaut or engineer or mathematician, then how can you become it? Ride's goal was to show young people that they could become anything they wanted to be in STEM, and I think that not only the program but also the EarthKam is bringing the message of STEM back into the classroom. Sally Ride was an incredible woman and is missed by so many of us here on Earth.

What do you think of the Sally Ride Science's ways to bring STEM into the classroom? Do you think they are effective in showing the younger population that they can have a career in STEM?