Tam has written 13 science books for children, including six with Sally Ride. They received the American Institute of Physics Children's Science Writing Award in 1995 for The Third Planet. In 2015 Tam published Sally Ride: A Photobiography of America's Pioneering Woman in Space. It was nominated for the 2016 Kirkus Prize for Young Readers’ Literature.
As a scientist and educator, Tam became concerned about the underrepresentation of women in science and technical professions. In 2001, Sally, Tam, and three friends—Karen Flammer, Terry McEntee, and Alann Lopes—founded Sally Ride Science to try to narrow the gender gap in science. Tam served as the company's chief creative officer, guiding creation of the Cool Careers in STEM and Key Concepts in Science programs. She was also chief operating officer from 2009 to 2013, chair of the Board of Directors from 2013 to 2015, and chief executive officer from 2014 to 2015.
The University of California, San Diego, acquired Sally Ride Science in October 2015 and named Tam executive director of the resulting nonprofit organization. Tam also serves as a member of the Advisory Board for the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum.
Karen is a third-generation physicist. She earned her B.S. in applied physics and Ph.D. in space physics at UC San Diego. While doing research in space and planetary physics, Karen became passionate about educational outreach and increasing girls' and minorities' participation in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields. In 2001, she co-founded Sally Ride Science with the goal of narrowing the gender gap in STEM.
Karen has more than 20 years of experience directing large-scale STEM outreach and professional development programs, most notably Sally Ride EarthKAM and the Sally Ride Science Academy. Sally Ride EarthKAM engaged more than 600,000 K-12 students from 80 countries in STEM by allowing them to photograph Earth with a digital camera on board the International Space Station. The Sally Ride Science Academy, a robust train-the-trainer professional development program, has reached more than 30,000 educators, giving them strategies and resources to encourage students' interest in STEM.
Edward founded the University of California STEAM Channel. He is active in the San Diego community as a trustee of the San Diego Youth Symphony and a founding board member of the San Diego Urban Discovery Academy charter school. He is deeply involved in programs serving foster youth and veterans, and other youth development programs.
A specialist in gifted education; arts integration; and the socioaffective domain, Appel teaches a variety of courses at both UC San Diego and UC Irvine. He is a widely published author and presenter at conferences and other venues. Appel lives in San Diego, California, with his wife Catherine and their dog Jonathan Fitzgerald.