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Ranging from Valentina Tereshkova (who in 1963 became the first woman to fly into outer space) to Sally Ride (the first American woman in space), and Anousheh Ansari (the first female private space explorer), the annals of history are hallmarked with the contributions that women have made to the understanding and exploration of the still-evolving frontier of space.

And did you know that of the 534 individuals who have ever flown into space, 60 have been women -- with 40 of these female space explorers coming from the United States, and the remaining hailing from other nations including the former Soviet Union, Japan, Iran, the Republic of Korea, the United Kingdom and China?

USA Science  Engineering Festival Role Model Sally RideJoin the Festival in celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Women in Space! Here are two great ways to do it: First, visit our Role Models in Science and Engineering Achievement website to learn more about the contributions of key female space explorers. Heroes such as NASA astronauts: Sally Ride, the noted physicist who in 1983 became not only the first American woman in space, but also (at age 32) the youngest U.S. astronaut; electrical engineer Ellen Ochoa, the first Hispanic woman of any country to travel in space; Bonnie Dunbar, a veteran of five Space Shuttle missions who played a key role in building the Shuttle program; and physician Mae Jemison, the first African American female astronaut.

The second exciting way is to personally join us on April 24, 2014 in Washington, D.C. to meet key women trailblazers in space exploration as part of the Festival's X-STEM Extreme STEM Symposium presented by Northrop Grumman Foundation and MedImmune.

This unforgettable all-day event will give visitors the opportunity to hear and interact with some of the most prominent visionaries in space, including Anousheh Ansari and Blake Bullock, the astronomer at Northrop Grumman who is helping to usher in the next successor to the celebrated Hubble Space Telescope, as well as other leaders in STEM.

Which is why we want to be sure you don't miss out on this exciting "limited tickets only" event set for the Washington, D.C. Convention Center! Note: Act now to obtain your tickets to the symposium by reading information at the bottom of this article.

At the symposium, elementary through high school students, teachers and others will have the opportunity to sit in on multiple engaging presentations, live demonstrations and hands-on workshops with leaders on such topics as the future of space flight, green technology, storm chasing, the science behind Hollywood TV and film stunts, oceanography, genetics, science policy making, nanotechnology, computer science, biomimicry, and biotech start up companies.

In the realm of space exploration, here are just several women trailblazers in this field who are sure to inspire you at the symposium:

USA Science  Engineering Festival X-STEM Speaker KathrynThorntonKathryn Thornton – As a NASA astronaut, she logged 975 hours in space, including more than 16 million miles in orbit, and became the second American woman to walk in space in 1992. Discover her perspectives on the future directions of American space exploration and insight into her current work as a professor with the School of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Virginia.


Blake Bullock Image 2014 XSTEM SpeakerBlake Bullock – Learn from this exciting, plain-speaking astronomer science liaison for Northrop Grumman how she is helping to usher in the James Webb Space Telescope -- the next-generation telescope being developed to replace Hubble, and how this new technology will enhance our understanding of the universe and further establish America as a technological leader.


Anousheh Ansari PhotopsdAnousheh Ansari – She captured headlines around the world in 2006 as the first female private space explorer, and also earned a place in history as the fourth private explorer to visit space and the first astronaut of Iranian descent. Discover how this serial entrepreneur is now helping to drive commercialization of the space industry, and as chairman of Prodea Systems (a company she co-founded) she is pioneering new directions in digital communication.



nancy conrad thumbnailNancy Conrad – Learn how her Conrad Foundation (named for her late husband Apollo astronaut Pete Conrad) is making a dramatic impact in inspiring young students to use science, engineering and entrepreneurship to find viable solutions to some of the most daunting challenges facing us today – from aerospace engineering to bioscience and renewable energy!


Lori Garver PhotoLori Beth Garver – She became interested in space while working for former NASA astronaut pioneer and U.S. Senator John Glenn and then served as the lead civil space policy advisor for Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign before being appointed to her current post of Deputy Administrator of NASA. Discover from this leading space policy expert what the future direction of NASA will be as it charts a new course in both the governmental and commercial sectors!


For a rundown on all X-STEM presenters, visit here.



Interested in attending an extreme day of STEM? Students, educators and STEM enthusiasts can participate by:


Option 1 – Buy a ticket (seats are limited and offered by invitation only)
--General Admission: $25 per person (early bird rate)
-- K-12 Students and Educators: $15 per person (early bird rate)
Note: The X-STEM Ticket Purchase Form is coming soon! Please sign up here to be notified when registration opens.

Option 2 – Start an X-STEM School Ambassador Team for your school and come to the X-STEM Symposium for FREE!
Registering your school as an X-STEM School allows students on the X-STEM Ambassador Team to become student STEM Leaders for their school and community. Ambassadors to the 3rd USA Science and Engineering Festival play a critical role in increasing awareness for the 2014 Festival through marketing and outreach efforts. In exchange for their efforts, Ambassadors are invited to attend the Festival's special X-STEM event on April 24, 2014 at no cost, in addition to earning valuable community service credits for college applications and resumes. X-STEM Schools get their own Festival web page, preferential registration for the Nifty Fifty program, reduced School exhibitor fees, and preferred School Bus Grant applications.

For more information on the X-STEM Ambassador program, and to register click here.

For more information on the X-STEM program and symposium follow this link.