President Barack Obama has appointed Tam O'Shaughnessy, cofounder and executive director of Sally Ride Science at UC San Diego, to the advisory board of the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.
"We are pleased that a STEM educator of Dr. O'Shaughnessy's experience is joining the museum's Advisory Board, and we look forward to her contributions as we transform the museum for the future," said Gen. J.R. "Jack" Dailey, the John and Adrienne Mars Director of the National Air and Space Museum.
The Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum is home to the world's largest collection of aviation and spaceflight exhibits and artifacts. More than eight million people annually visit its two locations, making it the nation's most visited museum.
O'Shaughnessy said she was honored by the appointment.
“The museum honors the innovations, commitment and courage of the women and men who pushed the boundaries of flight,” she said. “I am thrilled to do my small part to continue this awe-inspiring mission.”
Sally Ride was the first American woman in space. She died in 2012. O'Shaughnessy was her life partner.
The nonprofit organization Sally Ride Science, which creates programs and publications to inspire students, especially girls, to consider careers in STEM, was created by O'Shaughnessy, Ride and friends. It became part of UC San Diego in October 2015.
That year, O'Shaughnessy gifted the National Air and Space Museum a selection of Ride’s personal possessions and papers; the Sally K. Ride Collection is now on display in the museum's Boeing Milestones of Flight Hall.
O'Shaughnessy, a California native, played tennis professionally. She earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in biology from Georgia State University and a doctorate in school psychology from UC Riverside. She is an associate professor emeritus of school psychology at San Diego State University, where she served on the faculty from 2002 to 2007.
O'Shaughnessy has written 12 space- and science-themed books for young readers, including six with Ride.