STEM Play Workshops for the IF/THEN Collection

Learn and play like particle physicist Dr. Jessica Esquivel, engineer and nonprofit visionary Jasmine Sadler, or biomedical engineer Dr. Ana Maria Porras!
The workshops are open for play now at the Kansas Children's Discovery Center through Thursday, September 8, 2022. 

The IF/THEN® Collection is the largest free resource of its kind dedicated to increasing access to authentic and relatable images of real women in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The Collection is part of the IF/THEN® Initiative, a national effort sponsored by Lyda Hill Philanthropies® to inspire young girls to pursue STEM careers while creating a culture shift in how the world perceives women in STEM.

The Collection features 125 female STEM innovators selected by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and Lyda Hill Philanthropies® to be AAAS IF/THEN® Ambassadors, all serving as high-profile role models for girls.

IF/THEN® selected The Kansas Children’s Discovery Center as one of two children’s museums in the United States to create a new resource for their collection.

The three STEM Play Workshops in this exhibit feature the work of three IF/THEN® Ambassadors. They were designed and built here in Topeka to be added to the The IF/THEN® Collection and replicated by other educational institutions around the world.



The STEM Play Workshops



Learn and Play like Dr. Jessica Esquivel


Dr. Jessica Esquivel is a Particle Physicist and Associate Scientist at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory. Jessica is a particle physicist. That means she studies tiny pieces of things to learn more about them. A scientist like Jessica might use light as a tool to help her understand how a material works by itself and with other objects.

Visitors to Jessica's workshop can use the light box and the specimen slides to design their own experiments. While playing, visitors can investigate the differences and interactions between opaque, reflective, and translucent materials.

Learn and Play Like Jasmine L. Sadler, MBA


Jasmine Sadler is the CEO and visionary of The STEAM Collaborative and an aerospace engineer. That means she designs things that turn air into energy. A scientist like Jasmine needs to know a lot about different materials in order to create things that solve problems.

Visitors to Jasmine's workshop can use foam and wooden blocks to design their own experiments. While playing, visitors can you find out which materials can build a structure strong enough to withstand the force of a wrecking ball.

Learn and Play Like Dr. Ana Maria Porras


Dr. Ana Maria Porras is a biomedical engineer, a career she didn’t know existed growing up in Columbia. She studies the tiny microbes inside our bodies to help people be more healthy. She also crochets giant microbes to help people learn. She is an Assistant Professor at the University of Florida.

Visitors to Ana Maria's workshop can put their hands inside a glove box to explore the materials and design their own experiments. Visitors can investigate tools and overcome the obstacle of working inside gloves to accomplish a task.



Media Coverage of this Story

New exhibit puts girls in STEM, and the Kansas Children's Discovery Center on a national stage

Rafael Garcia, Topeka Capital-Journal

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IF/THEN® Gender Equity Engagement Grants for Children’s Museums Webinar

ASTC’s IF/THEN® Gender Equity Project

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