Our Story

Taking Up Space is a non-profit dedicated to increasing Native American representation and decreasing the gender gap in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) fields. We empower middle-school-aged Native American girls to develop and pursue their curiosity, passion, and confidence in STEM by providing an intensive 36-week colloquium and sponsoring their trip to NASA’s Space Camp in Huntsville, AL. Founded in 2016 and based in Tucson, Taking Up Space is where fun, passion, curiosity, and STEM come together to inspire the next generation of scientists, health care workers, mathematicians, and more!


Taking Up Space was founded 


Lives have been changed


Native American Children sent to space camp

Why Did We Start Taking Up Space?

Girls and women are systematically tracked away from math and science throughout their educations. According to the United States Census Bureau, women are nearly half the U.S workforce but only 27% work in STEM. Of this percentage women of color compromise about 5%. According to the National Science Foundation, only 0.1% of scientists and engineers are Native American women.  Moreover, men vastly outnumber women majoring in most STEM fields in college. Why is this significant?  STEM fields have some of the highest-paid and fasted-growing jobs of the future, like computer science and engineering. Taking Up Space was created to give Native American girls the skills and confidence to succeed in STEM.   

Some factors that contribute to women making up about only one-quarter of the STEM workforce: 

What We Do

To close the STEM gender gap and increase Native American representation Taking Up Space provides several programs, after-school activities, and field trips including:

36 Week Annual Colloquium

This annual 36-week colloquium on the fundamentals of aerospace, body positivity, and Native American arts and culture not only educates our girls of their unique (and much needed) place in STEM but empowers them to take up space! Within these 36 weeks, we emphasize strong and visible role models by inviting speakers like John Herrington and Nicole Stott to talk about their experiences. We also take field trips (pre-Covid), and conduct virtual science experiments, activities, and so much more!

NASA's Space Camp

Space Camp is an educational camp in Huntsville, Alabama, on the grounds of the U.S. Space & Rocket Center museum at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center. It is the ultimate educational experience that illuminates real-world applications of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Students work as a team and confront mission scenarios that require dynamic problem solving and critical thinking — 21st century learning skills required in the workplace.

Founder Story: Czarina Salido

I remember, when I was 8 years old, feeling that I couldn’t do the same things that boys did. I couldn’t be as good in math and science. I found it unsettling, and that began my road of being an “unconscious rebel.” As a Hispanic female growing up in Tucson I had to be a fighter to overcome numerous negative assumptions and obstacles, but the challenges helped me develop a greater sense of purpose. With the help of generous mentors, I became the executive director of Time in Cosmology and created a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.

Our History

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