Representation Matters! Highlighting the IF/THEN® Collection

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Today, women comprise only 29% of STEM professionals. The IF/THEN® Initiative from Lyda Hill Philanthropies (LHP) is designed to activate a culture shift among young girls to open their eyes to STEM careers. Representation is key to empowering current innovators and inspiring the next generation of pioneers: If we support a woman or girl in STEM, then she can change the world.

The Representation Matters! Highlighting the IF/THEN Collection® webinar was hosted by NGCP on May 25, 2021. In this webinar recording, IF/THEN staff and ambassadors discuss why it is so important for girls to see role models in STEM.

Jessica Esquivel headshot

Dr. Jessica Esquivel

Dr. Jessica Esquivel has recently been promoted to an Associate Scientist at Fermilab where she works on the Muon g-2 Experiment which recently announced it’s exciting Run 1 results, which confirmed the BNL g-2 experimental results, and increased the experiment/theory tension from 3.7σ to 4.2σ. She is one of ~150 Black women with a PhD in physics in the country, the 2nd black woman to graduate with a PhD in physics from Syracuse University, and the 3rd Black woman to hold an Associate Scientist position at Fermilab. Her graduate research focused on studying ghostly particles called neutrinos interacting in the MicroBooNE Experiment using innovative machine learning techniques like those used in facial recognition software. She received her bachelor’s in electrical engineering and applied physics from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, TX. She identifies as female, Black, afrolatinx, lesbian, a physicist, and texan. Dr. Esquivel is a recognized advocate for creating just and equitable spaces in physics and focuses on the intersections of race, gender and sexuality in her community engagement efforts. She is a member of APS-IDEA, co-founder of BlackInPhysics, and part of the Change-Now collective. Dr Esquivel’s accomplishments include spearheading the sponsorship of Fermilab at Wakandacon, a 3-day afro-futuristic convention that strives to create a safe space for the black community to explore their interests from comic culture to STEM, selected as a AAAS IF/THEN Ambassador, appearing on CBS’s Emmy nominated educational program Mission Unstoppable where she discusses the physics behind makeup, and appearing on the Science Channel’s How the Universe Works discussing how neutrinos could be the key to the mysteries of our universe. 

Ciara Sivels in graduation gown

Dr. Ciara Sivels

Dr. Ciara Sivels is a nuclear engineer at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, where she works on a variety of projects using radiation detection and modeling. Her past research focused on nuclear explosion monitoring and treaty verification, resulting in 4 first authored publications as well as numerous research awards, including the Department of Energy National Nuclear Security Administration’s University Program Review National Laboratory Impact Award. Among the many outreach and mentorship programs that she participated in during her time at Michigan, she helped found the Women in NERS (Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences) group, a space for women in the department to commune, share stories, and discuss issues.  Ciara obtained her PhD in nuclear engineering from the University of Michigan in 2018, becoming the first black woman to do so at Michigan. She also holds a Master’s degree and Bachelor’s degree in nuclear engineering from the University of Michigan and MIT, respectively.  She is originally from Chesapeake, VA.

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