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Podhradsky statue in If/Then Exhibit

May 17, 2021

Dr. Ashley Podhradsky's family joined her by her statue featured at the opening of the Lyda Hill Philanthropies #IFThenSheCan exhibit in Texas.

Designed to activate a culture shift among young girls by inspiring them to pursue STEM careers, Lyda Hill Philanthropies®’ IF/THEN® Initiative presents #IfThenSheCan – The Exhibita monumental exhibit of the most women statues ever assembled in one location.

Included is Dakota State professor Dr. Ashley Podhradsky, an If/Then Ambassador. She is interim vice president for Research and Economic Development at DSU, and associate dean of The Beacom College of Computer and Cyber Sciences.

This first-of-its-kind, life-sized statue exhibit of more than 120 AAAS IF/THEN® Ambassadors hailing from more than 40 states will be free to the public. It debuted at Dallas’ NorthPark Center on May 15 and runs through October 2021.

Originally scheduled to open in May 2020, #IfThenSheCan – The Exhibit was postponed by COVID-19. IF/THEN pivoted to launch the IF/THEN® Collection, the largest, free digital resource with thousands of photos and videos of contemporary women in STEM, significantly increasing imagery stock representing women in STEM worldwide. In August 2020, a curated #IfThenSheCan pop-up exhibit was unveiled at the Wildlife Conversation Society’s Central Park Zoo in New York City to great fanfare.

“Our unwavering commitment to see this exhibit open emanates from the deep belief that ‘IF she can see it, THEN she can be it,” said Nicole Small, CEO of Lyda Hill Philanthropies® and co-founder of the IF/THEN® Initiative.

“As we emerge from the pandemic and contemplate the future, we want to showcase what is possible for young girls in the field of STEM by providing a diverse and powerful representation of women thriving in STEM careers,” she stated.

The #IfThenSheCan Exhibit celebrates the contributions of more than 120 AAAS IF/THEN® Ambassadors, contemporary female STEM professionals and role models from a variety of industries including entertainment, fashion, sports, business, and academia. From Jessica Esquivel, particle physicist, who is one of 150 Black women with a Ph.D. in physics in the country, to Kay Savage, who uses math, coding, and mixed methods research to gain a deeper understanding of Spotify listening behavior, to Karina Popovich, who produced over 82,000 pieces of 3D-printed PPE for healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Exhibit will truly amaze and inspire all.

The exhibit features interactive elements, including audio and video of each Ambassador’s personal story. The AAAS IF/THEN® Ambassadors participated in individual, full-body scans at Dallas’ Perot Museum of Nature and Science in October 2019. Using unique technology called the Twinstant Mobile Full Body 3D Scanner, each woman’s full-length silhouette was 3D printed into a life-sized statue.

The largest scale 3D printing project of its kind was inspired by a study commissioned by former Treasurer of the United States Rosie Rios, in which her initial research of publicly accessible statues in the top ten U.S. cities plus Washington D.C. and San Francisco concluded that less than half a dozen statues of real American women exist outdoors in main parks or downtowns.

“We are thrilled to be a part of this groundbreaking installation aimed at raising awareness and inspiring young girls everywhere to consider pursuing careers in STEM,” said Nancy A. Nasher, owner of NorthPark Center. “Because of our steadfast commitment to bringing world-class art and important, educational, and cultural experiences to the public, NorthPark Center is honored to showcase this transformative initiative to our millions of visitors.”

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