(This is an excerpt from an article published on the Huffington Post by Lynn Sherr, author of the upcoming biography, Sally Ride: America’s First Woman in Space [Simon & Schuster, June 2014]).
Astronaut Sally Ride didn’t deliver college commencement addresses. The first American woman in space — whose 1983 journey through the ultimate glass ceiling convinced millions that they, too, could do anything — annually declined invitations to help launch graduates into the real world. When she died at 61 in 2012, still unwilling, or perhaps too modest, to reduce wisdom to sound bites, her legacy was her heroism. In countless other speeches, she shared the magic of her space shuttle journeys without proselytizing. Through her company, Sally Ride Science, she helped middle school girls study and stay in the fields of science, math and technology, urging parents and teachers, “We need to make science cool again. It’s a national imperative.”