Sally Ride Science Executives to Speak at First-Ever California STEM Symposium

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CEO Sheryle Bolton to participate in panel discussions on the future of STEM education in California, and the gender gap in STEM majors; Sally Ride Science co-founder Dr. Karen Flammer to present on Sally Ride EarthKAM

Sally Ride Science: Igniting Student Interest in STEM by Keeping the Focus on Careers

On Monday, November 18, and Tuesday, November 19, Sally Ride Science will participate in the first-ever California STEM Symposium, to be held at the Sacramento Convention Center. Convening under the theme “Invest in California STEM Education: Innovate, Integrate, and Inspire,” the symposium will feature keynote presentations from Academy Award winner Geena Davis, astronaut Jose Hernandez, “global education superstar” Sugata Mitra, and other STEM education leaders.

California’s State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson describes the event as being “fueled by three basic factors: a need for innovators to keep California on the cutting edge of improving our quality of life; a need for a diverse STEM workforce; and a need for careful consideration about STEM fields… by students, educators, and those in elected office.”

Sally Ride Science CEO Sheryle Bolton will be taking part in two panels on Monday: The Importance of STEM Education to California, and California Leading Women Addressing the Gender Gap in STEM Majors.

“These panel discussions both align perfectly with the mission of Sally Ride Science,” says Bolton. “The former will allow us to explore the importance of STEM education to California’s future and economy, and how businesses can positively impact student interest in STEM. The latter is of special interest to us, as women constitute 51% of the work force, and yet only one in seven engineers, for example, is a woman. And as STEM careers are the fastest growing career segment—and one in which women can earn roughly 33% more than they would in non-STEM careers—we have long been focused on driving female students’ interest in STEM fields and careers.”

In addition to the two panels in which Bolton will be participating, Sally Ride Science co-founder Dr. Karen Flammer will lead a presentation on the Sally Ride EarthKAM, a NASA-backed project that enables middle school students to take “snapshots from space” via a camera aboard the International Space Station. In October, Sally Ride EarthKAM had its most successful mission ever, with 615 schools and 44,269 students participating. Since its inception, EarthKAM has captured nearly 60,000 images of the Earth, which are used as resources to support classes in Earth science, space science, geography, social studies, mathematics, communications, and even art.

“EarthKAM was started by Sally in 1995,” says Flammer, who also serves as Director for the EarthKAM program for the International Space Station. “EarthKAM demonstrates what we call the ‘STEM education into STEM careers progression.’ Some of the students who have experienced an EarthKAM mission and captured images while in middle school have been so enthused they have then gone on to study at the University of California, San Diego, where the EarthKAM labs are housed and work in the EarthKAM lab. And some students who have worked at the EarthKAM lab at UCSD have gone on to work at NASA. It’s an active example of engaging young minds in STEM fields.”

Sally Ride Science will also have a booth in the Symposium’s expo, where attendees can learn more about new programs and products available from the company, such as:

  •     Sally Ride Online Academy a professional development program that builds on Dr. Ride’s vision by giving educators the tools and training they need to ignite and build student interest in STEM
  •     STEM Central a free online collection of thousands of STEM resources educators can use in their lessons
  •     Digital books both the Cool Careers series (details the careers of diverse professionals working in STEM) and Key Concepts in Science series (helps make the big ideas in science accessible to students)

The Symposium will bring together approximately 2,000 teachers, administrators, students, higher education representatives, program providers, philanthropic representatives and industry representatives to engage them in STEM education by providing strategies and resources for program implementation. Learn more here: http://cdefoundation.org/stemconference/

About Sally Ride Science
Sally Ride Science provides college and career readiness training and tools to build students' passion for STEM fields and careers. Dr. Sally Ride, America's first woman astronaut in space, founded the company to bring science to life for upper-elementary and middle school students, offering professional development via the Sally Ride Science Academy, which shows educators how to incorporate engaging career-focused approaches into their existing instruction. Additionally, Sally Ride Science administers the Sally Ride EarthKAM, a unique NASA-backed educational outreach program enabling students, teachers, and the public to learn about Earth from the unique perspective of space. Visit http://www.sallyridescience.com for more information.

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Matt Casper
Sally Ride Science
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