I have a season ticket for a speaker's series in Sacramento. Last year, one of the speakers was Sally Ride. She was one of the better speakers, as well as having one of the most impressive resumes a person can hold.
In addition to everything she has accomplished (Ph.D. in physics from Stanford, the first American female in space having been on two shuttle missions, and currently a professor at UC San Diego), she started a company in 2001 called Sally Ride Science (www.sallyridescience.com). It's purpose is to encourage science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers to kids, particularly girls.
Ms. Ride is understandably concerned about the difficulties in keeping kids -- especially girls -- interested in math and science. In an Associated School Counselor's Association podcast, she discusses the link between math and science skills to the economy. Sally Ride Science provides professional development programs, homeschool and classroom science resources, science and career books and school programs.
There are also some great science links on Sally Ride's website, and you can hear her on more podcasts. She's enthusiastic, knowledgeable and has a passion for her field and in reaching young people. For more information about Sally Ride, as well as other people who have contributed to our society, check out the Career Biography Series.
My unscientific observation has been that boys, as well as girls, are no longer as interested in STEM careers as they might have been a generation ago. There may be a need to have two different approaches for the genders, but let's make sure we are reaching everyone.