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Sally Ride Science Camp

Education Unlimited -

“If we’re going to out-innovate and out-educate the rest of the world, we’ve got to open doors for everyone.  We need all hands on deck, and that means clearing hurdles for women and girls as they navigate careers in science, technology, engineering, and math.”

-- First Lady Michelle Obama

September 26, 2011


Encouraging girls’ interest in science has never been more important.  The National Science Foundation, NASA and the White House have all recognized increasing demand for women in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) careers – which rested at a mere 24% in 2009 – yet fewer and fewer students are being prepared for these important industries.   

Education Unlimited® has partnered with Sally Ride Science™founded by Dr. Sally Ride, America's first woman in space, to provide engaging and innovative science programs for girls entering grades 4 through 9.

Sally Ride Science Camps encourage girls’ interests in science by providing hands-on learning in an environment that is designed to be supportive, enriching, and – most importantly – fun! These unique overnight camps provide girls an opportunity to explore science, technology, and engineering through experiments and observations while staying on a university campus.  We offer several weeklong residential camps throughout the summer at UC Berkeley, Stanford, UC San Diego and day camps at Caltech and MIT.

Before camp, each girl will choose a science major that includes related labs and activities during their morning classroom sessions.  Majors vary by location and length of the program.

Enrichment Activities fill up most of the afternoons and evenings to give girls an opportunity for informal science learning, as well as leadership and problem-solving training, through workshops, experiments and recreational activities.   Students will also attend a mid-program excursion to a local science venue.

A Sally Ride Science Camp graduate will have:

  • Completed the exclusive Sally Ride Science curriculum
  • Participated in an in-depth variety of hands-on science learning and activities
  • Gained confidence and experience in a supportive girls-only classroom environment
  • Learned from experienced and inspiring instructors
  • Experienced a taste of college life
  •  Made lots of new friends from around the country or even globe!

Special day-only sessions of the Sally Ride Science Camp are offered at Caltech and MIT. These programs feature a convenient 5-day schedule, with programming from approximately 9am to 5pm each day (morning is usually designated for the more formal classes, and most of the afternoon times for more general science activities, recreation, etc). Please note that due to the program’s shorter duration, students at the program participate in a truncated version of the curriculum offered at overnight sessions. Beginning and intermediate Majors are offered. (Note: advanced 8th and 9th graders should consider the overnight programs rather than the day camps.)

Sally Ride Science Camp - Staff Profiles

Staff are typically subject matter experts and experienced teachers. Staff assignments vary by program and all staff are held to the highest possible standards. Some of our recent staff members for this program include:

Education Unlimited - Rhonda McCoy, PhD (Camp Director)

Rhonda McCoy, PhD — Camp Director

Dr. Rhonda McCoy obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro, NC.  After graduating from college she accepted a teaching position in Charlotte, NC.  She dedicated herself to teaching chemistry and physics, and strongly believes that “Our Kids are Worth Whatever It Takes”


Education Unlimited - Victoria Obenchain, MS (Camp Director and Lead Instructor)

Victoria Obenchain, MS — Camp Director and Lead Instructor

Vickie Obenchain has been teaching for Education Unlimited for the past 7 summers, teaching at both the Sallie Ride program and also the A+ Middle School program. She has two degrees in Environmental Science, a Bachelors of Science from Elon University in North Carolina, and a Masters from Montclair State University in New Jersey. While she...

Education Unlimited - Lia Stelljes, MAT (Camp Director)

Lia Stelljes, MAT — Camp Director

Lia Stelljes has been in the field of science education for the past nine years, beginning with her position as a science summer camp counselor while in college in upstate New York. Lia graduated Summa cum Laude with a B.A. in Physics, and now holds an M.A.T. in Science Education from Boston University. She has been a public middle school...

Education Unlimited - Jennifer Brakeman, PhD. (Instructor)

Jennifer Brakeman, PhD. — Instructor

Dr. Brakeman holds a Ph.D., in Neuroscience from Johns Hopkins University. She has been one of the most beloved teachers at the prestigious Head Royce school since 1997.  While at Head-Royce, Dr. Brakeman has taught 9th grade physics, 11th grade Biology and AP Biology, 12th grade Neurobiology and 12th grade Molecular Genetics. She has also...

Education Unlimited - Taylor Halsey (Assistant Director & Instructor)

Taylor Halsey — Assistant Director & Instructor

Taylor Halsey is a 2015 graduate at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona (Cal Poly Pomona) in Pomona, CA.  She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Biotechnology.  She will be returning to Cal Poly in the fall to begin a Master’s program in the same field.  In her spare time, she enjoys volunteering with an all-girl robotics...

Education Unlimited - Sarah Martin (Instructor)

Sarah Martin — Instructor

Sarah grew up in Sacramento and earned a Bachelors degree in Biochemistry from UCLA. While an undergraduate at UCLA, she wrote regularly for the Daily Bruin, the daily student run newspaper, on topics including education, new developments in science, and breaking news. Currently Sarah is a 6th grade math and 10th grade chemistry teacher at the...

Education Unlimited - Macara Nicoll (Camp Counselor)

Macara Nicoll — Camp Counselor

Macara Nicoll is thrilled to be back with Education Unlimited for another season of learning! Macara was a part of Education Unlimited last summer with Sally Ride Science counselor, and A+ Middle School programs. She loves to learn and continues to do so every day. Macara works as a paraeducator during the year, and in the fall, Macara will be...

Education Unlimited - Sabrina Parlan (Camp Counselor)

Sabrina Parlan — Camp Counselor

Sabrina was born and raised in Bakersfield, CA, and is now pursuing a Bachelors in Science in the field of Biology at the University of San Diego. After graduating, she plans on pursuing a Masters degree or Ph. D. in Molecular Biology. With this degree she intends to pursue a career doing research at a biotech company. She has had experience in...

Education Unlimited - Valerie Tran (Instructor)

Valerie Tran — Instructor

Valerie Thacher Tran is currently in Graduate School at UC Berkeley pursuing her Doctorate in Optometry. Her passion in caring for patients and dedication to giving excellent clinical care emanate from her life mission of empowering individuals to strive for the best and get the most out of their lives. She graduated from UCSD with a Bachelor’s...

We will continue to add additional staff members as enrollment and availability dictate. Details are posted on additional staff members as they are confirmed.

Upcoming Camps

Sally Ride Science Camps for Girls (Day Program)

At Caltech and MIT, we offer special day-only sessions of the Sally Ride Science Camp. These programs feature a convenient 5-day schedule, with classes from approximately 9am to 5pm each day. Please note that while day camp students attend a truncated version of the program of the curriculum offered at the overnight camps.  Beginning and intermediate Majors are offered. (Note: advanced 8th graders should consider the overn...

Sally Ride Science Camps For Girls (Overnight w/ Day Option)

Sally Ride Science Camp (Overnight Program w/Commuter Option) offers 4th-9th grade girls with a passion for science the opportunity to live, learn and make lifelong friends on the campuses of UC Berkeley, UC San Diego and Stanford.  These programs feature a 6 day, 5 night schedule, with activities scheduled from approximately 9am to 5pm each day. Students participate in morning labs, tailored to a science major of their ch...