On March 5, 2022, The Smithsonian celebrated Women’s History Month by launching a month-long exhibition of 120 neon-orange statues depicting prominent women who have or are currently excelling in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. “#IfThenSheCan – The Exhibit,” was the largest collection of statues of women ever assembled.
“[This 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.
The majority of the statues, which are life-sized and created by 3D printing, were displayed in the Smithsonian Gardens. Currently, fifteen of the statues are on display at Pegasus Park in Dallas, Texas. According to PBS, the rest of the statues will be on view throughout Smithsonian’s museums at the National Mall.
Two of the 120 Inspiring Women Featured in #IfThenSheCan
Some of the women in STEM are starting their brilliant careers while others are leaders in their fields. Here are two of the inspiring the women scientists featured in the “#IfThenSheCan,” exhibition.
Dorothy Tovar: Dorothy is a microbiologist and Ph.D. candidate in the microbiology and immunology department at Stanford University. Although she was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, she spent part of her childhood in Haiti where she became interested in infectious disease research. She has received academic fellowship awards from both the National Science Foundation and American Society for Microbiology.
Minerva Cordero: Minerva is a mathematician and a mathematics professor at the University of Texas at Arlington, where she also serves as the university’s Senior Associate Dean for the College of Science. She has dedicated her career to increasing diverse representation in the field of mathematics, and received funding from the MAA National Research Experience for Undergraduates Program (NREUP) to conduct a summer research intensive for minority students. She is an “active member of the Mathematical Association of America both at the state and national levels.”
Robert F. Smith’s Support of Smithsonian Institution
Smith is an advocate for increasing minority representation in science and the arts, and he has been a supporter of Smithsonian Institution and other initiatives that help marginalized groups.
Smith’s $20 million gift to the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture , helped establish the Center for the Digitization and Curation of African American History. Part of this program was created to advance internship opportunities and community outreach. Internships are paid, and open to college students with “demonstrated interest in and knowledge of African American history and culture”.
Learn more about how Smith is helping to preserve inclusive arts spaces, including his collaboration with the Open Space Institute in renovating a cultural performance center in Harlem, NY.