Sally Ride
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As we mark the passing of a pioneer, it’s important to reflect on the challenges that Dr. Sally Ride (May 26, 1951—July 23, 2012) rose to, and the shining example she set. Dr. Ride broke barriers and was an inspiration to millions, an adventurous scientist who made big bets and made history as the first American female in space — and the youngest astronaut to date.

I had the privilege to get to know Sally a few years ago, and she was a shining example of what it means to Be Fearless: she embraced opportunity and did not shy away from pushing herself to her limits. She excelled at the sciences during college, ultimately earning a Ph.D. in physics from Stanford University at a time when the majority of professionals in the field were male. Dr. Ride did not allow the physical differences between herself and her peers to become an obstacle.

Dr. Ride first heard of NASA’s astronaut training from a newspaper announcement. She was chosen from 8,000 applicants to become an astronaut. Throughout her career, Dr. Ride dedicated significant time to encourage youth, and particularly young women, to pursue careers in math and science. She did this as a professor, author, advisor, mentor and role model — and shared her thoughts on why math and science education is so important in a live Q&A hosted by the White House in 2009, which you can view below.

Sally Ride was a model for anyone who wants to dream big, act boldly and break through barriers. Today, let’s celebrate a fearless hero in Sally Ride — she will be missed.



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