Explore PacSci’s Science for Everyone Exhibit

As we celebrate International Women’s Day, there’s no better time to reflect on the remarkable achievements of women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics).

In our newest exhibit, Science for Everyone, we’re thrilled to offer interactive experiences that are as engaging as they are enlightening. Let’s take a closer look and discover how they inspire visitors to rethink their perceptions of STEM and unleash their inner scientist.

She Can Change the World

One of the highlights of Science for Everyone is six sculptures from #IfThenSheCan-The Exhibit, part of a greater collection of 120 sculptures. Each represent a contemporary female innovator in STEM. These remarkable women, including Becca Peixotto, Jessica Fagerstrom, Gracie Ermi, and more, have broken barriers, shattered stereotypes, and paved the way for future generations of aspiring scientists, engineers, and mathematicians.

Through the IF/THEN® Initiative, we celebrate their achievements and share their inspiring stories with our visitors. From exploring space and aviation to saving orcas with technology, these women exemplify the limitless possibilities within STEM.

Six orange statues from the IfThenSheCan portion of the Science for Everyone exhibit

Meet a few of our Featured Scientists

Becca Peixotto

Becca Peixotto
Photo credit: IF/THEN® Initiative

My name is Becca. When I was young, I loved visiting my grandparents’ old farmhouse in Vermont and finding things the previous owners- way back in the early 1800s- had left behind. But I didn’t know ‘archaeologist’ was a job people could have. I came to archaeology in a pretty roundabout way. I started college studying engineering. But I also loved languages, social science, outdoor education, rock climbing and wilderness expeditions.

When I took my first archaeology course, it was like a lightbulb turned on! I could combine all my experiences and interests in science, the outdoors, teaching, history, to learn more about our collective human past. It’s exciting to find an artifact buried for hundreds of years and think about the life of the person who held it last. Explore your interests: follow your curiosity. Everything you’re learning, no matter how different the topics, could one day come together and lead you to a big discovery.

Learn more about Becca.

Jessica Fagerstrom

Photo credit: IF/THEN® Initiative

Hi, I’m Dr. Jessica Fagerstrom and I’m a Medical Physicist. That means I work in a field that applies concepts in physics and engineering to questions in medicine. I specialize in radiation therapy physics, which means I help treat patients who have cancer, using radiation. My job is to make sure that the radiation is delivered safely and effectively. I love my job because I get to use fascinating science and cutting edge technology, to help people who are sick feel better. I also get to work with an absolutely fantastic team of people every day. On a daily basis, I know that our team is making a real difference in people’s lives. I definitely recommend Medical Physics as a career to anyone who loves learning and helping people.

Learn more about Jessica.

Gracie Ermi

Photo credit: IF/THEN® Initiative

My name is Gracie, I’m a computer scientist, and I write code to aid wildlife conservation. When I first graduated, I wanted to find a job that would make a difference! At the time, I wouldn’t have called myself as a conservationist, but I definitely would now. Every day I get to write code that makes it easier for wildlife experts to do their job. A super exciting project I’ve been working on
recently is helping to protect endangered killer whales. My organization is working on technology that can look at a picture of a whale and automatically perform a health checkup without disturbing the animal at all. This technology will allow scientists to quickly collect information about the whales to then share with governments to make better laws to protect these amazing animals. If you’re a girl who is even remotely interested in computer science or coding or solving
big problems, I want you to know what a fun and attainable job it is. We need more young girls to enter this field. You have great ideas that can solve the biggest challenges our world is facing.

Learn more about Gracie.

What does a scientist look like?

Within the exhibit, the shadow wall invites guests to reflect on the question: What does a scientist look like? It’s a thought-provoking exploration that challenges the stereotype of the older man in a lab coat.

In reality, scientists come in all shapes, sizes, backgrounds, and ages, and they work in a multitude of settings beyond the traditional laboratory.

This activity encourages visitors to recognize that being a scientist isn’t confined to a specific appearance or career path. Rather, it’s about embodying qualities such as curiosity, critical thinking, and asking questions about the world around us.

Anyone can be a scientist, regardless of their background or profession.

Building Confidence

The second interactive, the big blue block building area, takes a hands-on approach to exploring the skills and characteristics that are essential in STEM fields. Guests are encouraged to identify the traits they possess and then use blocks with corresponding words to build a structure.

It’s not just about creating a physical structure; it’s about building confidence in oneself and recognizing that the qualities that make us unique are the same qualities that can lead to success in STEM professions.

This activity sparks the imagination of young visitors, and it encourages them to envision themselves as capable and deserving contributors to the world of STEM.

Two women in the Science for Everyone exhibit

Why Does It Matter?

In a world where STEM continues to shape our future, it’s essential to recognize the importance of diversity and inclusion in these fields.

And while diversity is growing, there’s still a need to increase the diversity of STEM fields. In 2021, women earned only 38% of STEM degrees. And when you considering intersectionality, that number gets even lower; only 8.6% of STEM degrees wer e awarded to Black, Latina, and Indigenous women. Inclusion is a complex challenge.

There are many things women need to be successful in STEM careers, including access to opportunities, belief in their abilities, and a sense of belonging. By celebrating the achievements of women in STEM through Science for Everyone and projects like the IF/THEN® Initiative, we not only honor the contributions of trailblazing female innovators but also inspire future generations to pursue their passions by showing them there is a place for them.

Fostering diversity in STEM isn’t just about fairness—it’s about innovation. Diverse perspectives lead to more innovative solutions, more creative breakthroughs, and ultimately, a better world for all. When we embrace the diversity of voices and experiences in STEM, we unlock new possibilities, tackle complex challenges, and drive progress forward.

Local News Coverage of the Exhibit

During the debut of our Science for Everyone exhibit, we were honored to welcome a team from KOMO news and FOX13 to explore the wonders of STEM with us. Their visits captured the excitement and enthusiasm of visitors as they immersed themselves in the interactive experiences and celebrated the achievements of women in STEM.

Come Join Us at the Pacific Science Center!

We invite you to join us at the Pacific Science Center and embark on a journey of discovery, creativity, and empowerment through our Science for Everyone exhibit.

PacSci offers plan-ahead pricing so that you can choose the best fit for your budget and schedule. The earlier you book your general admission ticket, the more you will save!

Come and see for yourself how everyone can be a scientist, we can’t wait to welcome you!

Thank you to our generous supporters, including more than 1,500 individuals, companies, and foundations, as well as more than 20,000 member households. Your support brings to life PacSci’s mission to ignite curiosity in every corner of Washington State and beyond.

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