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Sally Ride Science Becomes Part Of UC San Diego

Photo credit: Associated Press

Former Astronaut Sally Ride speaks to members of the media as NASA personnel set up astronomy equipment on the South Lawn of the White House, Oct. 7, 2009.

UC San Diego said it will continue what Sally Ride and her co-founders started — an ambitious effort to make science, technology, engineering and math education more accessible to young women and historically underrepresented students.

Sally Ride, the first American woman in space, started the Sally Ride Science education company in 2001. Now, it's become a nonprofit and part of UC San Diego.

The university announced the partnership last week, saying it will continue what Ride and her co-founders started — an ambitious effort to make science, technology, engineering and math education more accessible to young women and historically underrepresented students.

After Ride died in 2012 from pancreatic cancer at the age of 61, Sally Ride Science was at a crossroads, said Tam O'Shaughnessy, who was one of the company's co-founders.

“I wanted a home for the company that would give us fresh brains and more support for scaling up our efforts,” O’Shaughnessy said.

She said the decision to become a nonprofit and partner with UC San Diego was an effort to keep Sally Ride Science on a path to grow.

“This was really a strategic decision. It wasn’t an act of desperation,” O’Shaughnessy said.

The newly named Sally Ride Science at UC San Diego will expand its education programs to reach more students and teachers. The nonprofit's work will be carried out through UC San Diego Extension, the Supercomputer Center and Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

UC San Diego Extension plans to begin new science and math programs this winter, said Edward Abeyta, the extension's assistant dean for community engagement and director of pre-collegiate and career preparation programs.

Photo credit: NASA

Sally Ride in the pilot chair of the space shuttle after launching into history as America’s first female astronaut, June 18, 1983.

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