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The STEM field has been dominated by men for decades, but a shift in the culture has seen women not only entering the field but elevating it. Sylvie Garneau-Tsodikova is one of those women; growing up with a passion for dancing, playing piano, and painting, Garneau-Tsodikova was on track to fulfill her dream of becoming an artist. That is, until her high school chemistry class unearthed a passion for science. Garneau-Tsodikova eventually discovered that the worlds of science and art were not that different. In fact, she soon found them to be the exact same.

Inspiring more women like Garneau-Tsodikova is the goal of Lyda Hill Philanthropies’ IF/THEN Initiative. The 125 IF/THEN ambassadors have been working endlessly to help promote and advocate for women in STEM. Garneau-Tsodikova, a UK College of Pharmacy professor, is one of the women hand-picked for this position. The women were selected through an in-depth process in collaboration with the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the world’s largest general scientific society with the mission to advance science and serve society.

The IF/THEN program plans to help give women in STEM visibility in an unmissable way: over 120 life-sized 3D printed statues. The display will be free to the public and will debut at Dallas’ NorthPark Center on Friday, May 1, 2020, and be on display through October 9, 2020.

The idea to use statues as visibility was inspired by a study that found that within the top ten cities in the U.S. there are less than six statues of women outside of museums.

Garneau-Tsodikova has made it a mission of hers to serve as a role model and leader for young women entering STEM fields. “I find it so wonderful that the IF/THEN program is making big strides to increase the visibility of women in STEM. "If a girl can see it, then she can be it." This is why this display is so unique and important. We need more young girls to see that women can do science,” said Garneau-Tsodikova.

For Garneau-Tsodikova this means laying the foundation for her own push to get women in Kentucky involved in the STEM field. Her advice for any young woman looking to join the workforce is simple: “Make sure you combine your passions in life. Find a career that allows you to be fully yourself and that you will be excited to get up to do every day.”

In the meantime, Garneau-Tsodikova will continue to put her talents to use through her research and teaching at UKCOP. Garneau-Tsodikova credits the UK College of Pharmacy with helping her utilize her platform and knowledge to help encourage young women to invest in the world of science “The College values not only my research but also my desire to engage and work with the future generation of STEM leaders and hopefully make a difference in their lives.”

The work of Garneau-Tsodikova and other women in STEM is essential to the progression of the field and helps to lay the groundwork for a more diverse and inclusive future.

We wish to remember and honor those who inhabited this Commonwealth before the arrival of the Europeans. Briefly occupying these lands were the Osage, Wyndott tribe, and Miami peoples. The Adena and Hopewell peoples, who are recognized by the naming of the time period in which they resided here, were here more permanently. Some of their mounds remain in the Lexington area, including at UK’s Adena Park.

In more recent years, the Cherokee occupied southeast Kentucky, the Yuchi southwest Kentucky, the Chickasaw extreme western Kentucky and the Shawnee central Kentucky including what is now the city of Lexington. The Shawnee left when colonization pushed through the Appalachian Mountains. Lower Shawnee Town ceremonial grounds are still visible in Greenup County.

We honor the first inhabitants who were here, respect their culture, and acknowledge the presence of their descendants who are here today in all walks of life including fellow pharmacists and healthcare professionals.