Sally Ride, the first American woman in space, was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom this week in a special 50th anniversary ceremony in honor of President John F. Kennedy. Ride first took flight on the Challenger shuttle on June 18, 1983, at the age of 31. She completed two missions aboard the shuttle and then went on to a career in academia, teaching at the University of California San Diego. However, Ride continued to be a big part of space exploration as an advisor and investigator until her death in 2012 at age 61. As a teacher, Ride shared her pioneer spirit with her students telling them there were no limits to what they can do—no matter race or gender.