Sally Ride Science at UC San Diego is a nonprofit organization run by the University of California San Diego. It was founded as a company in 2001 by Sally Ride, America’s first woman in space, along with Tam O’Shaughnessy, Karen Flammer, Terry McEntee, and Alann Lopes, to inspire young people in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) and to promote STEM literacy.

Sally Ride Science was relaunched at UC San Diego on October 1, 2015. It is based at UC San Diego Division of Extended Studies, with O’Shaughnessy serving as executive director.

Sally Ride Science at UC San Diego is continuing the company’s legacy with K12 STEM + Arts (STEAM) education programs and professional development for teachers. The goal is to help build students’ STEM literacy and encourage them to make connections between what they are learning and the STEM fields that are expected to experience rapid job growth in the coming decades.

The Sally Ride Science Academy, launched in 2016, offers hands-on workshops that allow students in grades 3-12 to delve into a wide range of STEAM subjects. Through Library NExT, a partnership with San Diego Public Library, Sally Ride Science also offers free STEAM workshops in local library branches. Women in Leadership is an annual event that brings together inpsiring leaders from a variety of fields to reflect on the status of women. Tam on STEAM is a series of online articles tracing the career paths of women in the University of California system doing groundbreaking research.

Sally Ride Science continues to offer its acclaimed book series, including Cool Careers in STEM, which profiles real women and men doing exciting work in STEM fields, and Key Concepts in Science, which introduces students to the big ideas in Earth, life, and physical science.


Before its acquisition by UC San Diego, Sally Ride Science implemented a variety of STEM-related educational initiatives. The company:

  • Organized 100 Sally Ride Science Festivals on college campuses around the country.
  • Created and ran a national engineering design competition (TOYchallenge) for eight years and created a documentary film (Some Assembly Required) following five teams of boys and girls during the 2008 competition.
  • Created 90 STEM and STEM careers books with comprehensive teacher guides, and more than 200 hands-on STEM investigations.
  • Developed and held the Sally Ride Science Academy for six years, using a train-the-trainer model.
  • Trained more than 30,000 teachers and reached more than 6 million students with books about STEM and STEM careers.
  • Operated EarthKAM (based on Sally Ride’s idea to let students take photos of Earth from space and use them in their studies), engaging more than 600,000 students and their teachers in 80 countries.
  • Helped spark the national discussion and shift the national perspective on the importance of involving girls and underrepresented minority students in STEM as they go through school and beyond.