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AAAS IF/THEN® Ambassadors

#IfThenSheCan - The Exhibit Comes to Washington, DC!


AAAS IF/THEN Ambassadors in front of their statue exhibit


For the first time on a national stage, 120 statues of our AAAS IF/THEN Ambassadors will be unveiled to the public March 5th at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC. #IfThenSheCan – The Exhibit kicks off the month-long Women's Futures Month festival with an exciting lineup of Smithsonian programming for visitors of all ages and gender identities to dream big and see themselves as scientists-in-the-making. Visitors will be given the exciting opportunity to meet AAAS IF/THEN Ambassadors during opening weekend March 5th and 6th. 

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. From Jessica Esquivel, one of only 150 Black women with a doctorate in physics in the country, to Karina Popovich, a college student who produced over 82,000 pieces of 3D-printed PPE for health-care workers in the early days of the pandemic, visitors will come face to face with entrepreneurs, educators, scientists and conservationists who are building the future. Each statue will feature a unique QR code so visitors can learn about these inspiring personal stories.

“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.”

AAAS is also thrilled that Dr. Shirley Malcom, Senior Advisor to the CEO and Director of the SEA Change initiative at AAAS, will also have a statue at the #IfThenSheCan - The Exhibit. Dr. Malcom is a pioneer whose work has tirelessly focused on the lack of women, especially women of color, in science. She has led the effort in improving accessibility of education and careers in science and engineering for girls and women. Her accomplishments and life experiences embody the spirit of this initiative.

Statue of Dr. Shirley Malcolm
Dr. Shirley Malcolm's Statue

During opening weekend, visitors were able to explore all 120 statues placed in the Arts + Industries Building, the Smithsonian Castle, and the adjacent Enid A. Haupt Garden. During Work It! FUTURES Career Day on March 5th, thirteen of our ambassadors gave ten-minute talks. During FUTURES Girl Power Family Day on March 6th, kids of all ages joined our AAAS IF/THEN Ambassadors in hands-on activities to share the excitement of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. On both days, our ambassadors engaged thousands of people next to their statues about their STEM stories.


Samantha Porter teaches kids about archaeology at the Smithsonian Arts + Industry Building
AAAS IF/THEN Ambassador Samantha Porter taught kids about archaeology at FUTURES Girl Power Family Day

On March 7th, select statues spread out to participating Smithsonian galleries across the National Mall through March 27th. Locations include the National Air and Space Museum and the National Museum of Natural History in addition to the Haupt Garden, Castle, and Arts + Industry Building. Join us in DC to be inspired by our amazing AAAS IF/THEN Ambassadors! You can also learn more about the women behind the statues, #IfThenSheCan - The Exhibit, and Lyda Hill Philanthropies here.

The full press release is available on the Smithsonian's website here.

Lyda Hill Philanthropies

- The AAAS IF/THEN Ambassadors discuss the importance of representation and why it matters that there is a statue exhibit featuring women in STEM.


What is the AAAS IF/THEN® Ambassadors Program?

The AAAS IF/THEN® Ambassadors program brings together 125 women from a variety of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) careers to serve as high-profile role models for middle school girls.  AAAS IF/THEN® Ambassadors use their skills in many fields – including research and development, sports and recreation, finance, fashion, gaming, engineering and manufacturing, entertainment, healthcare, conservation, aerospace, and more. By highlighting women in STEM who are contributing in all these fields, the AAAS IF/THEN® Ambassadors program shows girls the different career pathways they can pursue and how STEM impacts their lives every day. AAAS IF/THEN® Ambassadors are taking their outreach to the next level through original entertainment and media content, and direct engagement with middle school girls in formal and informal educational spaces.


IF/THEN® Collection Preview

The IF/THEN® Collection is available to classrooms, the media, and non-profit/educational partners and shows “This is what a scientist looks like.TM” It includes photos, video clips, press kits, and other materials featuring AAAS IF/THEN® Ambassadors and other women in STEM.


What are AAAS IF/THEN® Ambassadors doing?

As high-profile role models, AAAS IF/THEN® Ambassadors share stories of their STEM journeys and the many ways they use science, technology, engineering, and math to solve problems and create new possibilities for the future.


Video courtesy if the IF/THEN Initiative

A video recap of the AAAS IF/THEN® Ambassador Summit.


AAAS IF/THEN® Ambassadors have access to skill-building, media, and engagement opportunities during their Ambassadorship. AAAS IF/THEN® Ambassadors received an award of $5,000 and take part in the following activities:

  • An in-person summit that empowered AAAS IF/THEN® Ambassadors to take their outreach to the next level (the week of October 21-25, 2019). The summit included personal press kit development (photo shoots and videography), as well as coaching and support from specialists in science communication, public engagement, media, diversity and inclusion, and STEM education. Inspirational VIP guests also participated in the summit. View a recap of the summit above.
  • Online engagement with each other and with a wider network of experts that builds on the in-person summit, strengthening AAAS IF/THEN Ambassadors’ skills and supporting development of a community of dynamic women in STEM careers.
  • Creating original media content featuring women STEM professionals that reaches girls where they access content the most: on YouTube through partnerships with popular channels like GoldieBlox and on cable television shows like Mission Unstoppable.
  • IF/THEN® Collection: The National Girls Collaborative Project hosts a digital asset library that provides access to photos, videos, and other materials featuring AAAS IF/THEN® Ambassadors. The Collection is for nonprofit and educational use and enables easier access to imagery of diverse women in STEM. As a result, several Ambassadors are now featured in museum exhibits and on inspirational posters in classrooms around the country.
  • Direct connections with middle school girls in their classrooms, in informal science education settings such as Girl Scouts of the USA programs and on virtual platforms  that allow AAAS IF/THEN® Ambassadors to have conversations with girls from across the United States.
  • Access to $10,000 in funding (per AAAS IF/THEN® Ambassador) to develop their own engagement, education, and media activities. Over one million dollars in mini grants  have been awarded to AAAS IF/THEN® Ambassadors to develop and run public engagement with science activities that teach, inspire, and promote the next generation of women in STEM. 
  • Gallery of 3-D Printed Statues Designed to activate a culture shift among young girls and inspire them to pursue STEM careers, Lyda Hill Philanthropies®’ IF/THEN® Initiative will present the #IfThenSheCan – The Exhibit, a new monumental exhibit of the most women statues ever assembled in one location, at one time. The full statue exhibit will be unveiled in 2021, while various previews of the exhibit have been popping up around the country.

Where can I learn more?

Get in touch with us to invite AAAS IF/THEN Ambassadors to participate in media, educational, and engagement activities that focus on middle school girls.

Will there be future classes of Ambassadors?

Applications are no longer being accepted for the AAAS IF/THEN® Ambassador program, and there are currently no plans to sponsor future Ambassadors.