Sally Ride -- my heart aches right now. Sally was one of my first and biggest achievements. She once thanked me for my recruitment efforts while under contract to NASA, saying "If it hadn't been for you I might not be here." Sally carved out her own place in history as the first American woman in space, but she was much more than that. She was a symbol for all of the little girls that needed to see what was achievable if you worked hard and studied hard. Sally was a physicist and had a love for the Sciences - a field of study that we should all encourage young people to follow.
Many people have said that I was their inspiration, something that fills my heart with joy every time that I hear it. When NASA asked me to help them find the first qualified women and minorities to join the then all-male-all-white astronaut corp, I did so with great enthusiasm. One of the first that my company was able to reach was a beautiful, young, brilliant woman named Sally Ride. She not only joined the astronaut corps - she revolutionized it by blazing the trail that so many female astronauts followed. She became MY inspiration to continue to search to find the next Sally Ride, or Dr. Mae Jemison. I know that right now there's a little Sally or Mae out there, reading about what Sally achieved in her life, and deciding that Mars sounds like a great place to visit........Dream On! Sally will lead the way!