Explorers Heroes

Sally K. Ride

by Danielle from San Diego


    Reach for the Stars:  Sally Ride


"I wanted to show others around me, especially young girls, that you can accomplish anything you dream of" (Brooks). Sally K. Ride was an inspiring woman who followed her dreams and became the first American astronaut in space. Science always intrigued Ride, even as a young teen in the 1960's. She grew up in Encino, California. Following high school, she attending college at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania. Ride then attended Stanford University, where she earned her master's degree and Ph.D. in physics. After college, Ride earned a position in Houston, Texas, at NASA. Her first launch into space was on June 18, 1983 at Cape Canaveral. She became the first American woman in space. After her career at NASA, Ride relocated to San Diego to start her own company, "Sally Ride Science." Unfortunately, in June of 2012, Ride lost her battle to cervical cancer. Heroes are individuals that achieve goals, take risks and inspire others around them. Sally K. Ride is a hero because she was determined, fearless, and inspired men and women of all ages.  

Ride exhibited fearlessness throughout her entire career. She first displayed courage and bravery when she looked for opportunities after college. "She had not yet found a job when she saw an advertisement in a student newspaper asking for applicants to NASA's astronaut training program. Although she had never imagined herself as an astronaut, Ride decided to apply" ("Contemporary Heroes and Heroines"). When new ventures present themselves most people shy away, but Ride was fearless and took on the new opportunity. Ride had a master's degree in physics, but no experience in the Aeronautics field. The fact she decided to take on a new challenge exhibits her pioneer spirit. After her training, Sally Ride went on to become the first American Woman in space. Many people would agree this sounds frightening, but that was not the case for Ride. Her spaceship launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on June 18th, 1983. It was her first time ever to be in space! "When the rockets ignited and we blasted off, I remember being surprised at my reaction. I was suddenly overwhelmed with this unbelievable feeling of excitement and helplessness" (Brooks). Blasting into space as the first American female astronaut demonstrates Sally Ride's fearlessness. There was much pressure for Ride on this journey, because not only was she the first woman to attempt to go to space, but also the first, "American" woman. In addition, she risked her life because space is such a strange, foreign territory. Instead of panicking inside of her rocket, Ride stayed strong to complete her mission. Taking such risks demonstrates that Ride was fearless. 


There were many goals Ride wanted to achieve throughout her life. She didn't allow her gender to get in the way. "Ride is never satisfied. She learned early in life that while she may have to try harder than her male counterparts to prove it, she can do anything she puts her mind to--including breaking the bonds of Earth's gravity and broadening the minds of young women she has never met." (Brooks). Sally Ride was determined to earn a career in science, math and technology at a young age. Even though majority of the people working in her field were male, Ride's determination became evident when she achieved her goal of working in the field of science.  There was much competition to get into the NASA training program. Thousands of people applied, but only a few would fit the criteria. One of those people was Sally Ride. "There were more than 8,300 applicants to the NASA training program. Finally, 35 candidates, Ride among them, were selected to become astronauts. She speculated that she was chosen because she possessed a good educational background and one that showed "I could learn new things readily." ("Contemporary Heroes and Heroines"). In order for Ride to get the position at NASA, she had to stand out among thousands of people. She studied diligently throughout her college years, focusing on math and science... fields not typically chosen by women.   Then the NASA training program, which was predominantly male, accepted Ride. demonstrating her strive to push the boundaries even further. She achieved her dreams by never giving up and staying on course.

 ( )
( )

Sally K. Ride demonstrated she was fearless by exploring the unknown. She was the first American woman to launch into space. Ride was determined because she earned her Ph.D. in physics, even though science was a male dominated field during her time. She didn't let her gender get in the way of accomplishing her dreams. Ride also inspired many around her. Even after she retired from NASA, she continued to share her love of science and space with others. She founded her own company, "Sally Ride Science," to inspire young girls and children. Sally Ride inspires me that you can accomplish anything you want as long, as you put your mind to it! She showed us that it is not always an easy path to your goal. There will be many obstacles along the way and challenges may include gender dominance, fear of the unknown and peer pressure. However, if you stay true to yourself you can accomplish anything!

Works Cited
Brooks, Roger. "Pioneering spirit: astronaut Sally Ride was the youngest person in space, but her  
second career is turning inspiration into education." Success Dec. 2010: 72+. Biography in Context. Web. 1 May .........2014.

"Sally Ride." Contemporary Heroes and Heroines. Vol. 1. Detroit: Gale, 1990.Biography in Context.Web.1 May 2014.

Page created on 5/25/2014 12:00:00 AM

Last edited 5/25/2014 12:00:00 AM

The beliefs, viewpoints and opinions expressed in this hero submission on the website are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs, viewpoints and opinions of The MY HERO Project and its staff.

Related Links