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ITA Sally Ride STEM Award

The ITA Sally Ride STEM Award is named after the first American woman to soar into space, Dr. Sally Ride, who captured the nation’s imagination as a symbol of the ability of women to shatter barriers. As endowed by Sally Ride’s life partner Tam O’Shaughnessy, this award honors an female student-athlete who is a United States citizen, has graduated from a four-year American college or university, has lettered a minimum of two years on the school’s varsity tennis team. The annual receipient will have exhibited zeal, dedication, and perseverance towards her tennis training and competition, STEM studies, and long-term goals.

“Sally would be thrilled to have this ITA award named after her,” said Tam O’Shaughnessy. “Sally loved sports (especially tennis) and science (especially physics) her whole life. This award combines sports and science–a perfect match! Sally would love that each year a student-athlete who also loves tennis and science is supported in her dreams.”

The annual recipient of the award will receive a grant in the amount of eight thousand dollars ($8,000) to pursue her dreams. The award money given to the student-athlete may be used in any way she wishes [e.g., tuition, books, rent, etc.]. Additionally, the ITA will also donate two-thousand dollars ($2,000) to the women’s tennis program of the institution from which the award winner graduated.


  • Applicants must have graduated from a four-year American college or university and have lettered a minimum of two years on the school’s varsity tennis team
  • Applicants must submit an essay (no more than 1000 words) outlining the role that tennis and higher education have played in their life, the lessons learned, the role and impact of a STEM education, and a description of the candidate’s plans for graduate study, describing hopes and dreams to be pursued.
  • Initial letters of support on behalf of the candidate must also be submitted by the candidate’s varsity tennis coach and a college STEM professor.
  • Finalists for the award may be asked to submit a letter of support from the candidate’s college/university president, in addition to their dossier.

Learn More About Sally Ride 

Past Recipients

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