For all of the other previous statues, I have discussed each statue individually. But the If/Then Exhibit is a collection of women that have been memorialized – not in stone, bronze, steel, wood, or glass but in acrylic gel. Instead of being sculpted, carved or etched, these statues are made in a 3D printer.
If/Then is the brainchild of Lyda Hill Philanthropies as a way to encourage young girls into careers on a STEM path (science, technology, engineering and Math). And what better way to showcase STEM than through the use of a 3D printer capable of full-body scanning that creates life-size models of living, breathing and working women? Currently there are over 120 women displayed in North Park in Dallas, Texas. It’s the largest exhibit of its kind.
This is exciting, to say the least. The interactive exhibit features a scavenger hunt and biographic history of all 120 women. If/ Then was created to develop a culture where women in STEM could become household names. The exhibit is a wonderful way for women to share stories, inspire the next generation of working women and change the course of history. Sad to say, its still a male-dominated profession. The current STEM workforce is only 30% female.
Why? Good question. There are many theories; teachers and parents don’t reward girls for good grades in math and science; math and science were male-dominated worlds and girls weren’t encouraged to break the status quo. IF/Then works on the premise that there have been a lack of role models and a limited notion of mentorships. The new model is, “If She Can See It, Then She Can Be It.” Halleluiah!
The exhibit was delayed due to COVID but it is open and ready for visitors. There’s a good chance you might find a similar exhibit popping up in your city. On a personal note, I’ve always loved science but found math cumbersome. The only one who ever encouraged me was my mother, even though I often out-scored the boys on tests and beat them in just about every award category. I was often told, “Why bother? You’ll just get married and have babies?” Why didn’t anyone (include myself) ever assume I could do both? I compromised by studying speech-language pathology in graduate school, which I grew to love. The field is rooted in science and education but our arms reach into technology, especially in the field of assistive communication devices; math as we analyze and graph multiple data points; and engineering when we create speech tools. How does your profession measure up to STEM?
I hope young girls reading this join the STEM world and become household names. But for now, check out the If/Then website and learn the names of all 120 brilliant women and follow their amazing careers.