When you walk into the north entrance at NorthPark Center, you're struck by a swath of orange; 122 orange, life-size, 3-D statues that lead to a park-like setting outside.
"The way the sun hits them, we almost look like we glow," Nikki Sereika said. The Southwest Airlines aircraft maintenance technician is among the 'STEM ambassadors' featured in the exhibit. "If I can show a young girl the world of aviation, then maybe I can spark her interest."
'If/Then She Can the Exhibit' is the largest collection in the world of statues of women; all of them working in the STEM fields: science, technology, engineering, and math.
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"We hope that you'll meet someone in this exhibition that you want to learn more about," CEO of Lyda Hill Philanthropies Nicole Small said. Lyda Hill put on the exhibit. "We hope that little girls everywhere might see somebody that gets them excited, that makes them realize that she, too, can change the world."
Women are less than 30% of the STEM workforce.
"It's very, very important that we show girls that they can do science," UTA math professor Dr. Minerva Cordero said, noting all the statues were orange. "We're not seeing color in here. We're not seeing race. We're all the same, and what matters is we're women and we're doing science."
"It's me, but as an orange statue," Myria Perez said laughing. Perez is a paleontologist and fossil preparator at the Perot Museum. She has a tattoo of a plesiosaurus fossil on her forearm, and a stegosaurus purse.
"Fun dinosaur fact," Perez said with a giggle. "The time between stegosaurus (holding up her purse) and t-rex is longer than the time between t-rex and us!"
Perez hopes young girls, in particular, come to the exhibit.
"I hope they see a bit of themselves in these statues," Perez said. "You can be girly and like science."
'If/Then She Can the Exhibit' officially opens Saturday, May 15.