First Female American Astronaut Sally Ride
Sally, arriving at the Kennedy Space Center

It has been asked countless times over these past few days, a question that I had not yet found an answer to, until just recently.


In the past, this question has been answered with well-known names such as Maya Angelou, Harry Houdini, Jane Goodall, and Isaac Newton, while this year, even more names present themselves. Even these few names are only a small sample of the many notable people who live, and have lived on Earth. These people have shaped our world into what it is today, with contributions in areas including art, science, entertainment, literature, and politics, to name a few. And as the TALONs’ infamous Eminent Person project advances towards us, we are forced to choose: But who?

After doing some searching through the endless realms of the Internet, as well as some good old-fashioned page-turning, I had finally made a decision. I was interested in studying someone who was a figure in the world of science, and also someone who was an advocate for women involved in scientific studies. For me, Sally Ride met both of these criteria.

Sally Ride is most well known for being the first American woman in outer space, but I was surprised to discover that some of her other feats also include authoring six books and founding her own organization, creating educational resources for school children and educators.  She also was the recipient of numerous awards, some of which include the Presidential Award of Freedom and NCAA Theodore Roosevelt Award, and was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame.  People saw her as a trailblazing woman in a male dominated profession, and there was a tremendous amount of responsibility that came along with her attempt of being the first American woman to be launched into space. She serves as a female model for countless girls with scientific aspirations, in her generation, and in the generations to come. One of her own quotes reveals her advocacy for women in science:

“If we want scientists and engineers in the future, we should be cultivating the girls as much as the boys.”

Just by looking through some quotes of hers, it is evident that she was a hardworking, intelligent woman, and that she took risks to reach her goal of travelling to space. If you are an avid reader of my  blog of currently two posts, you might have read my recent entry on the importance of ambition. I find it very important to make goals for myself, looking towards the future and the opportunities that lie with it. Sally Ride demonstrates this link between ambition and fulfillment, and shows us that our major goals are attainable, even for women completing tasks typically reserved  for men. It takes a extraordinarily ambitious person to reach Sally Ride’s level of accomplishment, and to disregard gender roles and stereotypes as she did.

I am looking forward to studying this influential woman on a more in-depth level, and to expand some of my writing skills in the process, in accordance to my IEP goals. Learning more about Sally Ride will hopefully open me up to different writing opportunities, from a research perspective, and in narrative writing. One of my goals for this year is to find more time for writing on a daily basis, and I believe that this project will allow me to carry out this goal. In addition, as I learn more and more about Sally Ride, I hope to find some personal connections with her and her passion for science and learning. This will result in a more thorough examination of her life and accomplishments, and a better understanding of her goals and the legacy that she wanted to leave. All of these factors will  hopefully help me create a convincing portrayal once the Night of Notables rolls around.

To state the truth, the Eminent Person Project seemed a bit daunting when it was first introduced, but now the idea of studying a person on such an in-depth level excites me. I hope that this study will give me an insight on the life of such a remarkable woman, and to show  why she deserves to be named notable.