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Join us in supporting the If/Then Initiative

Women scientists

What does a scientist look like? For many of us, the figure that comes to mind is usually white and male, perhaps wearing a lab coat and holding test tubes. Women, especially women of color, are underrepresented in STEM fields, get paid less than their male colleagues, are less likely to receive authorship credit in publications, and occupy fewer senior-level positions in their fields.

There is much work to be done to address the inequities in STEM. One strategy stresses the importance of representation to inspire the next generation of scientists. The If/Then Initiative is named for its mission: “IF she can see it THEN she can be it.” The Initiative is a national effort to inspire girls and create a culture shift in how the world perceives women in STEM. It provides a collection of digital media, including STEM activities, videos, and pictures that feature ambassadors — women in STEM sharing their diverse stories and careers.

As a partner on the If/Then Initiative, the Museum is showcasing videos of some ambassadors with local connections in a new installation in the Social Gallery, next to Aerospace and Play to Learn. Next time you visit, you can learn the stories of computer scientist Dr. Siobahn Day Grady, video game producer Heather Chandler, and archaeologist Becca Peixotto!

You can also meet and talk to these STEM ambassadors in upcoming Lab@Home virtual programs! The first of these programs on July 20 at 4 pm will talk with Fortnite creator, Heather Chandler, as we do a programming activity together!

Whether you visit the exhibit or attend the programs, you can be a part of inspiring girls in STEM through the If/Then Initiative! Complete a short survey after watching the Ambassadors’ stories to help us create better exhibits and programs and encourage the next generation of scientists. Your completed survey will even enter you in a raffle where you can win one of five prize packs outfitted with scientific equipment to do your own experiments!