San Diego, March 7—Today, the Women in Aviation, International (WAI) inducted four new women into its International Pioneer Hall of Fame, with Sally Ride—America’s first woman in space—joining Nancy Currie, Beryl Markham, and Sheila Scott as honorees. These women are being honored at WAI’s 25th Annual International Conference, to be held March 6-8, 2014, at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort in Lake Buena Vista, FL. The ceremony will take place at the closing banquet on Saturday, March 8, 2014. Accepting the award on Sally’s behalf at the WAI Conference will be Bear Ride, Sally’s sister.
“We honor these women so that their names and accomplishments are never forgotten,” says WAI President Dr. Peggy Chabrian. “These are women who didn’t just break down barriers; they opened the door for other women as well.”
“Through her career as an astronaut, educator, and then founder of Sally Ride Science, Sally was—and remains—an inspiration to girls of all ages and anyone who knew her,” says Dr. Tam O’Shaughnessy, a co-founder and the Board Chair of Sally Ride Science, a STEM education company that helps ignite and build student interest in STEM fields and careers.
“Sally knew from the start that being America’s first female astronaut was more than just a great story: it was a way to get more girls and boys engaged in science, and that is exactly why she founded Sally Ride Science. By introducing students to the diverse women and men working in STEM, we can help students see themselves as one day becoming STEM professionals, too,” says Dr. O’Shaughnessy.
The 2014 Pioneer Hall of Fame Inductees (from the WAI release) are:
Nancy J. Currie (Col., U.S. Army ret.), who became a NASA astronaut in 1991. Her technical assignments within the Astronaut Office included flight crew representative for crew equipment; lead for the Remote Manipulator System, and spacecraft communicator, providing a communications interface between ground controllers and flight crews. A veteran of three space flights, she has logged over 737 hours in space. She was a mission specialist on STS-57 in 1993, STS-70 in 1995, and STS-88 in 1998 (the first International Space Station assembly mission).
Beryl Markham was a British-born author, aviator, adventurer, and racehorse trainer. She became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic from east to west. She is now primarily remembered as the author of the memoir West with the Night.
Sally Ride soared into history as the first American woman to fly in space when Challenger blasted off on mission STS-7 from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on June 18, 1983. Her second flight, STS-41-G also aboard Challenger, launched on October 5, 1984. Dr. Ride founded her own company, Sally Ride Science, to pursue her longtime passion for motivating girls and boys to study science and to explore careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). She also cowrote seven science books for children including: To Space and Back; Voyager; The Third Planet; Mission Planet Earth; and Mission Save the Planet.
Sheila Scott was a British pilot who between 1965 and 1972 flew her way into aviation history with more than 100 flying records, trophies and awards. Scott first flew around the world in 1966, covering about 31,000 miles in 189 flying hours. She wrote I Must Fly and On Top of the World.
The Women in Aviation, International Pioneer Hall of Fame was established in 1992 to honor women who have made significant contributions as record setters, pioneers, or innovators. Special consideration is given to individuals or groups who have helped other women be successful in aviation or opened doors of opportunity for other women. Each year, the organization solicits nominations from throughout the aviation industry for the WAI Pioneer Hall of Fame.
The 2014 Conference celebrates 25 years of WAI Conferences. With the theme “Today’s Vision, Tomorrow’s Reality,” the WAI Conference will include professional development seminars, education sessions, tours, workshops, networking events, speakers, and a commercial exhibit area. The Conference concludes on Saturday evening, March 8, 2014, with WAI’s annual banquet where dozens of scholarships are awarded and the 2014 group of Pioneers is inducted into WAI’s Aviation Pioneer Hall of Fame.
Women in Aviation, International is a nonprofit 501(C)(3) organization dedicated to providing networking, mentoring and scholarship opportunities for women and men who are striving for challenging and fulfilling careers in the aviation and aerospace industries. For more information, contact WAI at 3647 State Route 503 South, West Alexandria, OH 45381, Phone (937) 839-4647; Fax (937) 839-4645 or through www.wai.org.