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SA partners join effort to reverse trend of girls not entering science
(11-18-02)

UT Health Science Center, Texas Research Park Foundation work with Veridian, Sally Ride Science Club™ to present San Antonio Science Festival for Middle School Girls; America's first woman astronaut to speak

San Antonio-area girls in grades five through eight will have the opportunity of a lifetime on Saturday, Dec. 7 — learning about math, science and technology and hearing an inspiring talk by Sally Ride, Ph.D., the first American woman to travel in space. The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSCSA) and the Texas Research Park Foundation have joined Veridian Corp. and the Sally Ride Science Club™ to present the Sally Ride Science Club™ San Antonio Science Festival.

Dr. Ride, who became the first American woman in space aboard the shuttle Challenger in 1983 and went on to log nearly 350 hours of space flight, is committed to creating events, programs and activities that support girls' interest in math, science and technology.

The San Antonio Science Festival will be held from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at UTHSCSA, 7703 Floyd Curl Drive. Parents and educators also are welcome to attend. School counselors are encouraged to bring entire classes of middle school girls. For more information, call Jennifer Fraser at Veridian, (210) 442-4257.

"Studies show that in elementary school, roughly the same amount of girls and boys are interested in science and math. But beginning around the sixth grade, more girls than boys drift away from these subjects," said Dr. Ride, founder, president and CEO of Imaginary Lines Inc. "We created the Sally Ride Science Club™ to support the large numbers of girls who are interested in technical fields by connecting them to each other, to female role models and to their own source of engaging content and activities. Our community science festivals provide a way for these connections to be made on a personal level."

"Many of our outstanding Health Science Center faculty researchers, including neuroscientists, dentists, nurses and allied health professionals, are speakers for the Sally Ride festival," said Francisco G. Cigarroa, M.D., president of the Health Science Center. "We need to encourage more women to enter the sciences and the health professions. This festival and similar events keep young girls' dreams alive." Texas has just launched a "Closing the Gaps" campaign to attract 300,000 more students to Texas colleges and universities by 2015, Dr. Cigarroa added, and today's middle school-aged youngsters are an important target for this campaign.

One of the faculty speakers, Dr. James Bower of UTHSC's Research Imaging Center and UTSA, is a principal driving force behind an Internet site, www.whyville.com, aimed at increasing young girls' interest in science. He will discuss Whyville during one of the sessions.

Registration is $15 if received by Saturday, Nov. 30. The fee includes admission to a technology street fair, two Discovery Workshops, souvenirs, discount on a Sally Ride Science Club™ membership and lunch. The fee is $20 after Nov. 30. The Texas Research Park Foundation is making available a limited number of scholarships. For more information, call Fraser at (210) 442-4257.

The Sally Ride Science Club™ works in partnership with colleges and universities, girls' and women's organizations, schools, businesses, and existing local networks of women in science and technology to coordinate each community festival. The festival will feature a Street Fair and Discovery Workshops led by local role models.

San Antonio Science Festival highlights:

  • Hear Sally Ride describe her experiences in space
  • Choose from 25 hands-on, creative and fun science-, math- and tech-related Discovery Workshops for girls, and helpful workshops for parents
  • Join a Street Fair full of fun with science demonstrations, entertainment, free souvenirs and a raffle

For more information or another way to register, visit www.SallyRideFestivals.com or call 1-800-561-5161. Veridian Corp. is a leading provider of information-based systems, integrated solutions and services specializing in mission-critical national security programs for the intelligence community, the Department of Defense, and government agencies involved in homeland security.

Contact: Will Sansom