Sally Ride (1951 - 2012) was an astrophysicist, astronaut, and the first American woman in space. After leaving NASA, Ride became a professor at UC San Diego and founded an educational resource company called Sally Ride Science. An intensely private person, her sudden death in 2012 from pancreatic cancer came with the public revelation that fellow UC San Diego professor Tam O'Shaughnessy had been Ride's partner for 27 years. Ride is the first known LGBT astronaut

"The world and our perceptions have changed a lot, even since the '70s, but there are lingering stereotypes. If you ask an 11-year-old to draw a scientist, she's likely to draw a geeky guy with a pocket protector. That's just not an image an 11-year-old girl aspires to."

-Sally Ride, from Inventors Digest, 2009 (h/t