The Sally Ride Science Festival began in 2006. The mission is to encourage girls in middle school grades toward careers in the STEM subjects. It’s also the age when a lot of things change.
“Sometmes the peer pressure happens, and it becomes a little less cool for girls to continue on in their interest in math, or science, or technology, so they begin to drop out at that age.”
That’s Karen Ride, sister of America’s first woman in space.
“Sally’s vision was to provide opportunities for kids, especially girls, to re-ignite that interest, keep it going, have support among their peers, meet other girls that are really interested in the same things as they are, and to have significant local role models, women scientists, who are having a wonderful exciting life in the science in one aspect or the other.”
She says the stereotype of the sciences being male-dominated still exists in some circles.
“But our point is to expose, to broaden the horizons of kids, and really help them dream of things that they can do in the future, in book or studies, and in their professional life. That they can do whatever they want to. As Sally used to say, ‘They can reach for the stars.'”
The festival is hosted by Sally Ride Science and sponsored by ExxonMobil. It will feature hands-on workshops, a street fair with food booths and music, and a keynote address by astronaut Wendy Lawrence, a veteran of four space shuttle missions.
More information can be found at www.sallyridescience.com.