Reaching for the stars

Girls at a booth at STEM fair
Girls visit booth during STEM festival
Photos by Jeff Fitlow

Rice once again played host to the “Reach for the Stars! STEM Festival” April 9, an event held to inspire middle school girls to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Started by Sally Ride, the late astronaut who was the third woman and first American woman to travel to space, the annual festival has been held on Rice’s campus since 2006. This year, approximately 200 local middle school girls took part in the daylong festival. They attended workshops, panels and exhibitions covering four different STEM-related career tracks: space and astronomy, physical science and math, medicine and bioscience, and engineering and robotics.

The keynote speaker was Nicola Fox, head of the heliophysics division at NASA. The event was sponsored by the Ride Family Foundation, Rice Space Institute and various other donors.

Students at Reach for the Stars festival sitting outsideYoung girls speaking with science expert at STEM fairAttendees pose with astronaut suitPhotograph of reflection from astronaut helmetFestival worker smiles while carrying rocket casingYoung girls working with mentor at STEM fairYoung girls in head scarves huddle together at science festival
Keynote speaker Nicola Fox of NASA
Keynote speaker Nicola Fox, head of NASA's heliophysics division.