#IfThenSheCan — The Exhibit, featuring 120 3D-printed statues of women in STEM (all images courtesy IF/THEN Collection)

Next month, some 120 orange, 3D-printed statues of women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) careers will be on view at the Smithsonian’s gardens and some of its museums in Washington, DC. The statue collection will be unveiled on March 5, during the opening weekend of the Smithsonian’s Women’s Futures Month festival, the institution’s first-ever month-long celebration of women and girls in STEM. It will be the “largest collection of statues of women ever assembled together,” the institution said.

Titled #IfThenSheCan – The Exhibit — an amalgamation of a building block of code and a feminist empowerment slogan — the installation honors ambassadors of IF/THEN, an initiative by Lyda Hill Philanthropies to empower the next generation of women to explore careers in STEM. The life-sized statues will be displayed across the Arts + Industries Building, the Smithsonian Castle, and the Enid A. Haupt Garden.

The women honored include Jessica Esquivel, one of only 150 Black women with a doctorate in physics in the country, and Karina Popovich, a college student who created over 82,000 pieces of 3D-printed personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.

IF/THEN ambassadors pose in front of their statues

Among the 125 IF/THEN ambassadors are also Brooklyn-based educator and organizer Yamilée Toussaint Beach who founded STEM From Dance, a non-profit that uses dance to inspire youth to pursue STEM degrees; geneticist and artist Ahna Skop; mechanical engineer and writer Ritu Raman; and Administrator of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service, ​​Chavonda Jacobs-Young.

“The 120 life-size 3D-printed statues are of a diverse coalition of contemporary women STEM innovators and role models leading a variety of fields, from protecting wildlife, discovering galaxies, building YouTube’s platform, to trying to cure cancer,” the Smithsonian said in a statement.

IF/THEN ambassadors pose next to their statues

On the opening day of the installation, the Arts + Industries Building will host a career day where youth can meet their role models whether they be biologists, engineers, entrepreneurs, or other creators. A science family day will be held on March 6 at the same location, where young women can meet female scientists, listen in on talks, and participate in “hands-on science demos and crafts for all ages.” After the opening weekend, some of the statues will continue to be shown at various Smithsonian locations.

“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 Smithsonian Secretary Lonnie Bunch. “This exhibition highlights how a more diverse, more inclusive workforce will strengthen our shared future.”

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Jasmine Liu

Jasmine Liu is a former staff writer for Hyperallergic. Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, she studied anthropology and mathematics at Stanford University.