Women's History Month Profile: Sally Ride [3/23/2011]

I have always been interested in astronomy. As a very young child one of my favorite books took you on a journey through the solar system. In art classes, I often found ways to work an alien into the scene. I covered my ceiling with glow-in-the-dark stars, and hung them at various heights to create a 3-d effect. I became an avid science-fiction fan and later founded an astronomy club at my high school. My senior year I wrote a paper on dark matter, using the internet for the first time to understand the current research. While I didn't end up studying Astronomy as planned, I still enjoy attending lectures on dark energy, string theory, and the anthropic principle. I still have a VHS tape from junior high of a PBS series on the universe.

For as long as I remember, I have also been inspired by women of great accomplishment. I am often overwhelmed by the determination, bravery, compassion, selflessness, intellect, and creativity that so many great women possess. It is important to me that all women are free to put these talents to use and better our world. There have always been strong, influential women. However, since the women's rights movement, I am aware of more and more inspiring women doing all sorts of incredible works. I feel privileged to live at a time where women in every country are standing up for their rights and freedoms.

When reflecting on women's history month, many different names flooded my mind, but only one of which I have been lucky enough to meet. As a 5 1/2 year old girl looking up at the stars, I was very impressed by NASA Astronaut Sally Ride who made news that year by becoming the first American woman in space. She visited the Lexington Arts and Science center and signed my drawing of an alien. Sally Ride makes it an important part of her job to encourage young children (especially girls) to consider careers in science and to dream big. With the many scientific problems facing us today and in the near future, we need students to be inspired to tackle those problems. Education and research funding should be increased not cut, and our teachers who are doing their best should be rewarded and honored not attacked. Like our President Barack Obama, Sally Ride believes in women and what they can achieve, she stands on their side when others would hope to hold us back. She continues to be an inspiration to me and others.