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Reach For The Stars STEM Festival

For the past eleven years, Rice University has hosted the country’s largest Sally Ride Science Festival. The Festival included a street fair, an inspiring talk by a woman astronaut, and thirty women-led science and engineering workshops (each student attends two).

Starting in 2016, the Festival was renamed the "Reach for the Stars! STEM Festival", and is sponsored by the Ride Family Foundation and Rice Space Institute.

The next Festival will be held on APRIL 21, 2018 (DELAYED BECAUSE OF HURRICANE HARVEY).

We are very excited that this year the event is not only sponsored by the Ride Family Foundation, but also the "Gathering of Eagles" organization. "Gathering of Eagles" is headed by Elias Sanchez-Perez, a retired NASA engineer who is dedicating his life to improving STEM education especially among women and underserved populations. He was recently featured in a Houston Chronicle article January 6. If that link does not work, see the pdf version archived here.

Use the email list link to sign-up as a student participant, teacher, parent, sponsor or exhibitor.

We need: Workshop Presenters, Street Fair Exhibitors, Volunteers, and Financial Sponsors!

To reach the organizers with questions, to volunteer, or to sponsor, send email to starfest@rice.edu

History of Sally Ride Festivals at Rice University

2006 - 2007

The Rice University Sally Ride Festival was hailed by the Sally Ride Science organization as their best attended and best organized annual festival. In 2006 Sally Ride herself was the first keynote speaker.

2007 - 2008

Peggy Whitson aboard the ISS

The keynote speaker was Eileen Collins. During her talk, we were pleased to have Peggy Whitson greet the attendees from space (she was the first woman Commander of the ISS, and she later greeted Eileen in space when the shuttle visited the ISS.

2008 - 2009

The keynote speaker was Peggy Whitson.

2009 - 2010

The keynote speaker was Ellen Ochoa, the first Hispanic woman in space.

2010 - 2011

The keynote speaker was Wendy Lawrence.

2011 - 2012

The keynote speaker was Catherine Coleman.

2012 - 2013

2012 was special because it was just after Sally Ride passed away in July, so the 2012 Festival was dedicated to her memory, and Wendy Lawrence returned as keynote speaker.

2013 - 2014

The keynote speaker was Barbara Morgan.

2014 - 2015

In 2014 Catherine Coleman returned as keynote speaker. In addition, there were 35 hands-on workshops for the students, led by women scientists, engineers, and doctors.

2015 - 2016

The keynote speaker was again Wendy Lawrence.

2016 - 2017

In 2016-2017 Rice hosted the "Conference for Women Undergraduates in Physics" instead of a Ride Festival

2017 - 2018

The keynote speaker for this year has not yet been announced.