IF/THEN arrives at the Smithsonian

IF/THEN - The Exhibit at the Smithsonian
120 life-sized statues of AAAS IF/THEN Ambassadors on display at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C.

One hundred twenty statues of inspiring women in STEM are now on display at the Smithsonian on the National Mall in the center of Washington, D.C.

This past weekend, the orange life-sized 3D-printed statues of the AAAS IF/THEN Ambassadors were unveiled in the Enid A. Haupt Garden, adjacent Smithsonian Castle, and the Arts + Industries Building. Through the rest of the month, the statues will be featured at several participating Smithsonian museums, including the National Museum of Natural History and the National Air and Space Museum.

Among those featured are three women who have been affiliated with ASTC-member institutions:

“These striking 3D-printed figures of remarkable women in STEM careers help us celebrate the incredible impact women continue to make on vital scientific endeavors,” said Lonnie Bunch, Secretary of the Smithsonian. “This exhibition highlights how a more diverse, more inclusive workforce will strengthen our shared future.”

‘#IfThenSheCan – The Exhibit’ provides the perfect opportunity for us to show that women have successfully thrived in STEM for decades, while also illustrating the innumerable role models young women can find in every field,” said Ellen Stofan, the Smithsonian’s Under Secretary for Science and Research. “Through this exciting collaboration with Lyda Hill Philanthropies, the Smithsonian is furthering our commitment to fostering an environment where all girls know they can make an indelible mark on our future.”

ASTC has been a core partner of the IF/THEN Initiative for the past three years, including distributing more than $600,000 in grants to around 80 science centers. In the coming months, ASTC will award an additional $360,000 in grants to museums, libraries, and cultural institutions—including but not limited to science centers—to feature Ambassadors and the IF/THEN Collection. ASTC has also developed an IF/THEN Gender Representation Toolkit to help museums collect data on the visual representation of gender in their exhibits, websites, programming and other museum content–and produced a report on the use of the toolkit.

IF/THEN is an initiative designed by Lyda Hill Philanthropies to activate a culture shift among young girls to open their eyes to STEM careers. From tagging sharks, searching for extraterrestrial life, fighting superbugs, to choreographing robots, these STEM innovators were selected through a rigorous process that identified them as leaders in their fields with a commitment to inspire the next generation. All were chosen by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and Lyda Hill Philanthropies to serve as AAAS IF/THEN Ambassadors: high-profile role models for middle school girls.

“#IfThenSheCan – The Exhibit” kicks off the month-long Women’s Futures Month festival at the Smithsonian, which will invite visitors of all ages and gender expressions to dream big and see themselves as scientists-in-the-making.

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