Speech Storytelling Arc

Main focus: I want to talk about feminism in that era (the eighties) and how Sally Ride was a symbol of change in a typically conservative agency (NASA) and field (STEM).

1:

Exposition: I want to talk about NASA’s decision to allow women and minorities to become astronauts, and introduce Sally’s character as a Ph.D. student navigating the admissions process

2:

Conflict Introduced: Talk about the sexism in that era, which is unimaginable to a lot of youth today*

3:

Talk about how the astronauts were used as a source of American propaganda

  • maybe touch on homophobia
  • high expectations for astronauts
  • a role model for young girls interested in STEM
  • difficulties in the application process
    • NASA was filled with a lot of straight white men who were used to having a position of power

4:

Talk about the misinformation and misconceptions that were rampant inside NASA

5:

Talk about sexism that she faced from the press, including rude and oblivious questions asked by male reporters-ex: “When things go wrong on training mission do you weep?”

6:

Sally sitting on the Challenger, preparing to blast off into space

7:

How Sally Ride proved without a doubt that women are capable of accomplishing all the things that men can

8:

Founding Sally Ride Science

*NOTE: I am currently working to secure an email with Lynn Sherr, who is an eminent feminist who covered the STS 7 mission and wrote a comprehensive biography on Sally

Ride, Sally Ride: America’s First Woman in Space

“Ride, Sally, Ride!” chanted the crowd on an early Saturday morning as the Challenger shuttle blasted off into space. Inside, Sally Ride made history, becoming the first American woman to fly to space.

Sally Kristen Ride was born May 26th, 1951 to parents Joyce and Dale Ride in idealistic Southern California. She was intrinsically shy and was nurtured by her parents in a progressive, free-thinking household. Sally’s parents never expected less of her because of her gender, and she was raised to love both sports and academics from an early age. As a teen, she attended a private, all-girls school where she took advanced classes and spent the weekend playing competitive tennis. She took classes at UCLA before transferring to Stanford to complete a rare double major.

While Sally Ride was studying to complete her Ph.D., a front-page article on The Stanford Daily caught her eye. “NASA to Recruit Women” the paper stated, and Ride chose to apply as a ‘mission specialist’. She was successful and was one of the class of thirty-five new astronauts (known as thirty-five new guys or TFNG). This group of astronauts was the first to include women and racial minorities. Sally Ride also managed to complete her Ph.D. while in training. Hard work and rigorous studying paid off as Sally was selected to be the first American woman in space. Once Dr. Ride was named, she often experienced passive sexism, which she deflected or shut down using her famed wit.

Sally Ride also co-founded Sally Ride Science (S.R.S), a non-profit organization that is dedicated to engaging middle school learners in the STEM fields. She dedicated her later life to S.R.S. and inspired many young girls with her work. She worked with UC San Diego to bring this program to youth across the country, and it’s still running.

 

I chose Sally Ride as my Eminent person because of her work as the first female astronaut and entrepreneur. She broke down so many barriers and dedicated her life to helping others. She also used her celebrity to raise awareness about important issues, and inspire the future generations. Sally Ride is not only an inspiration to me, she is an inspiration to thousands of girls and young women across the country.

An important part of Eminent is connecting to our chosen person. I created a chart to compare and contrast our two lives. I used an idea from Aislyn’s post “MacKaye and I”, and made a table to compare our lives.

Sally Ride Caitlin Owens
Has been to space Has not been to space
Was born in California Has lived in California
Interested in science Interested in science
Introvert Introvert
Born in the 50’s/Baby Boomer Born in the 2000’s/Gen. Z
Part of the LGBTQ+ community Part of the LGBTQ+ community
Played tennis Plays field hockey
Agnostic Agnostic

 

I am very excited for Eminent and Night of the Notables. Sally Ride is an interesting person with an incredible life, and I look forward to learning more about her.

T-minus 5, 4, 3, 2, 1… AND LIFTOFF! Night Of the Notables, here I come! 

If you are interested in learning more about Sally Ride, you can check out the complete biography I made:

Sally Ride: A Biography

 

Sally Ride: A Biography

Sally Kristen Ride was born May 26th, 1951 to parents Joyce and Dale Ride in idealistic Southern California. She was intrinsically shy and was nurtured by her parents in a progressive, free-thinking household. Sally’s parents never expected less of her because of her gender, and she was raised to love both sports and academics from an early age. As a teen, she attended a private, all-girls school where she took advanced classes and spent the weekend playing competitive tennis. She took classes at UCLA before transferring to Stanford to complete a rare double major.

While Sally Ride was studying to complete her Ph.D., a front-page article on The Stanford Daily caught her eye. “NASA to Recruit Women” the paper stated, and Ride chose to apply as a ‘mission specialist’. She was successful and was one of the class of thirty-five new astronauts (known as thirty-five new guys or TFNG). This group of astronauts was the first to include women and racial minorities. Sally Ride also managed to complete her Ph.D. while in training. Hard work and rigorous studying paid off as Sally was selected to be the first American woman in space. Once Dr. Ride was named, she often experienced passive sexism, which she deflected or shut down using her famed wit.

On June 18th, 1983, Sally Ride flew her first mission on the Challenger Shuttle and became the first female astronaut. Her crew launched a communications satellite and performed various experiments on board. Dr. Ride spent all her free time gazing down at the Earth below, where she gained an appreciation for how fragile Earth was and how thin the atmosphere was.

Once safe on Earth, Ride was faced with a plethora of unwanted publicity. A natural introvert, the celebrity associated with being the first woman in space tailed her for the rest of her life. She went on a tour of the United States and Europe. Ironically, she was more intimidated by speaking in front of a large crowd than flying to space.

Once the press buzz had died down, Sally returned to her work at NASA as an astronaut, where she flew once more and worked in mission control.  She was in training for her third mission when the Challenger Shuttle exploded and was then named to the Rogers Commision, dedicated to investigating the accident. She was the one responsible for the discovery of the cause of the accident but remained anonymous to protect her source. After the Rogers commission, she headed a committee to determine the future of NASA’s space exploration.

In 1987, Sally Ride left NASA for her alma mater, Stanford, in International Security and Arms Control. She then moved to UC San Diego, where she was a professor of physics and the head of the California Space Program. She continued to lead youth outreach programs for NASA, such as EarthKAM and the GRAIL MoonKAM. Sally was also asked to serve on the Columbia Accident Investigation Board, becoming the only person to serve on both disaster investigations

Sally Ride also co-founded Sally Ride Science, a non-profit organization that is dedicated to engaging middle school learners in the STEM fields. She dedicated her later life to S.R.S. and inspired many young girls with her work. She worked with UC San Diego to bring this program to youth across the country, and it’s still running.

In 2012, Sally tragically died of pancreatic cancer, surrounded by friends and loved ones. She continued to break barriers after her passing, revealing that she was part of the LGBTQ+ community and had been in a relationship with Tam O’Shaughnessy, co-founder of Sally Ride Science for 27 years. Post-humously, she became the first openly gay astronaut.

 

“Dad is Dying” Blog Response

In the short story, “Dad is Dying”, by Stuart McLean, it is hard to tell whether or not Sam’s lie about his father dying ‘rescued’ his parents, simply because the story does not extend far enough into the future to see any positive, long-term results. However, the story does state that “It was Sam who stirred the wind that filled his parents’ sails and pushed them out of the torpor of this heavy spring.” By the end of the story, Morley, who was previously very stressed, had unwound and felt more connected to the people that surround her. Dave had received many compliments from his neighbors during the course of the narrative, and this presumably boosted his ego and made him feel better about himself. While Sam’s lie may have benefitted his immediate family, but it caused undue worry to Sam’s neighborhood. The lie stressed out Mary so much, that she “burst into tears”. I believe that the consequences of Sam’s lie outweighed the benefits because he used the lie to emotionally manipulate others, like when he pretended to be sad and listless to get free ice cream by pulling on the heartstrings of an unwitting server. There is also the possibility that Sam’s lie could backfire and end up affecting others’ perceptions of him in the longterm, and this is a risk that is not something I would take.