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Steadman Philippon Research Institute’s Sarah Wilson Selected as AAAS IF/THEN® Ambassador

Steadman Philippon Research Institute (SPRI) is proud to announce that Research Engineer Sarah Wilson has been selected as one of the 125 AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science) IF/THEN® Ambassadors. IF/THEN®, a national initiative of Lyda Hill Philanthropies, seeks to further women in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) by empowering current innovators and inspiring the next generation of pioneers.

“We firmly believe that IF we support a woman in STEM, THEN she can change the world,” said Lyda Hill, founder of Lyda Hill Philanthropies. “The goal of IF/THEN® is to shift the way our country—and the world—thinks about women in STEM, and this requires changing the narratives about female STEM professionals and improving their visibility.”
To achieve this goal, AAAS IF/THEN® Ambassadors will connect with students in person and through various media platforms, including popular YouTube channels and network television shows. The Ambassadors are contemporary role models who represent a diversity of STEM-related professions in the United States, including entertainment, fashion, sports, business and academia.

“AAAS is deeply committed to advancing education and opportunities for girls and women in STEM,” said Margaret Hamburg, chair of the AAAS Board of Directors. “This partnership enables us to reach more deeply into STEM education and help advance STEM careers for women and girls. It will help us to elevate the voices of women working in STEM fields and to inspire the next generation of girls and women in science.”

“We are so pleased to share the news that Sarah Wilson has been chosen as an AAAS IF/THEN® Ambassador,” said Dr. Marc Philippon, co-chair of SPRI and managing partner of The Steadman Clinic. “Sarah’s work in biomedical engineering and research has made a critical impact on the groundbreaking efforts we are making each and every day in our laboratories at SPRI. This honor for Sarah is truly recognition for all the work she and her colleagues have done and reflects the accomplishments of every one of our team players at SPRI.”

Wilson has worked as a research engineer at SPRI for the past two years. She came to Vail after completing graduate studies in mechanical engineering at the Colorado School of Mines. Wilson, a native of Evergreen Colo., earned her bachelor’s degree in mathematics at the University of Denver in 2014.

During her time at SPRI, Wilson has been directly involved in two very successful SPRI outreach programs with youth in the Vail Valley – the Science Club and Summer Scholars Program. The Science Club is a year-long course during the school year that encourages students to learn more about science and show them the types of careers that can be found in STEM fields. The Summer Scholars program provides students the opportunity to spend a week during the summer with the staff at SPRI and learn more about careers in science in an up-close and personal way.

“I am incredibly excited for the opportunity to continue to be a mentor and role model for girls that are interested in science,” said Wilson. “As kids, my friends and I did not have many female role models with compelling STEM careers. Fortunately, my mom is a geologist, so I got to grow up with a living, breathing female scientist as my biggest influence. Not every girl has that!

“My mom and many others have proven that you don’t have follow a stereotype to be a female scientist,” continued Wilson. “There are so many different and exciting science fields to pursue—not all of them require lab coats and safety goggles. Whatever a girl’s interest, there is a related science field somewhere nearby. For example, skiing has always been a big part of my life, and now I’m doing injury prevention research in skiing and other sports as a career. Growing up, nobody ever told me this was a job I could have! I want girls to know that they can be anything; my job is just one example of that.”

In October, AAAS IF/THEN® Ambassadors will participate in the IF/THEN® Summit in Dallas to take their outreach to the next level by learning from each other and receiving resources and coaching in science communication and effective STEM storytelling. The IF/THEN® Collection, a digital asset library of photos and custom content, will be created as a tool to increase the number of accurate and powerful images of real women and girls in STEM.  The robust collection can be accessed by media, educators and non-profit organizations as they develop and share inspiring content and curriculum.

AAAS IF/THEN® Ambassadors were selected through a rigorous selection process. Candidates were evaluated for overall excellence with a focus on the following:
  • contributions to their STEM-related field, commensurate with their career stage;
  • demonstrated experience and abilities in STEM communication and public engagement via media, classroom, and public programs; and
  • commitment to inspiring middle-school girls to be the next generation of STEM pioneers.
The IF/THEN Girls Advisory Council, comprised of more than 150 10-18 year-old girls from around the country, also participated in the Ambassador selection process.

For a complete list of Ambassadors, go to www.ifthenshecan.org/ambassadors.


The Steadman Philippon Research Institute (SPRI) is dedicated to keeping people of all ages physically active through orthopaedic research and education in arthritis, healing, rehabilitation, and injury prevention. We utilize the latest regenerative medicine techniques – biological studies at the cellular level – to investigate the causes and effects of degenerative arthritis, techniques of musculoskeletal regeneration, and basic biological healing processes. Founded in 1988 by orthopaedic surgeon Dr. Richard Steadman as the Steadman Sports Medicine Foundation, the 501(c)(3) charitable organization has influenced the practice of orthopaedics throughout the world. Based in Vail, Colorado, it has become one of the most published organizations in sports medicine research and education.


IF/THEN® is part of Lyda Hill Philanthropies’ commitment to fund game-changing advancements in science and nature. IF/THEN® seeks to further advance women in STEM by empowering current innovators and inspiring the next generation of pioneers. Rooted in a firm belief that there is no better time to highlight positive and successful female professional role models, IF/THEN® is designed to activate a culture shift among young girls to open their eyes to STEM careers by: (1) funding and elevating women in STEM as role models, (2) convening cross-sector partners in entertainment, fashion, sports, business and academia to illuminate the importance of STEM everywhere, and (3) inspiring girls with better portrayals of women in STEM through media and learning experiences to pique their interest in STEM careers. To learn more, visit www.ifthenshecan.org or follow IF/THEN® on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.


Lyda Hill Philanthropies encompasses the charitable giving of founder Lyda Hill who believes that “science is the answer” to life’s most challenging issues and is committed to funding transformational advances in science and nature.  To learn more, visit www.lydahillphilanthropies.org.


The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is the world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of the journal Science, as well as Science Translational Medicine; Science Signaling; a digital, open-access journal, Science Advances; Science Immunology; and Science Robotics. AAAS was founded in 1848 and includes more than 250 affiliated societies and academies of science, serving 10 million individuals. Science has the largest paid circulation of any peer-reviewed general science journal in the world. The nonprofit AAAS is open to all and fulfills its mission to “advance science and serve society” through initiatives in science policy, international programs, science education, public engagement and more.

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