WHO ARE WE?
MakerGirl is a for-purpose organization founded at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Our team of undergraduate and graduate students have a mission to encourage young girls to become leaders in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. With a vision to have girls live and dream as unstoppable forces that say yes to challenges of the future, we host 3D printing sessions for young girls, between the ages of 7-10, to design and print their own creation.
By providing a hands-on experience for girls to imagine, design, and 3D print a creation of their own, we are encouraging girls to become excited about their future and all that they can accomplish as women leaders in STEM. After every session, each girl goes home with proof that they can successfully bring their ideas to life and become the next generation of Change-makers.
Since our pilot session in December 2014, MakerGirl has been able to host over 55 sessions with more than 470 participants. In a little over a year, we have expanded to Southern Illinois and have held multiple sessions in Chicago.
On October 14 2015, MakerGirl became a 501(c)3 accredited non-profit organization.
OUR NEXT STEP: GOING MOBILE
In order to expand our impact and reach out to more girls, MakerGirl is creating a 3D printing lab on wheels. Our mobile unit will be fully equipped with printers, laptops, and teaching materials to host a MakerGirl Session at any location.
Our target is to host sessions in rural communities where this type of technology is not typically available to young female students. Due to socioeconomic factors, rural areas tend to have fewer STEM-related opportunities. Going mobile allows MakerGirl to reach young girls in communities who wouldn't otherwise have the opportunity to be exposed to different STEM fields and 3D Printing.
Where are we headed?
Our trip includes an 8-10 week plan to reach as many communities as possible across the country. This includes reaching out to schools and summer camps, while also partnering with Makerlabs, FabLabs, Girl Scouts along the way.
While our trip has not been finalized, our focus is to reach out to communities where 3D printing technology is not easily accessible to young girls. If you know of a location that needs our services and would be interested in hosting a session, please contact us (email@example.com) and let us know!
WHY DO WE CARE ABOUT STEM?
STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. It is an educational approach integrating hands-on learning and critical thinking. STEM education focuses on taking what is taught in the classroom and applying that to create solutions to today’s issues. This project-based learning method allows students to approach problems with a more creative and broad mindset.
MakerGirl has hosted sessions with active and problem-solving organizations such as Girl Scouts, Camp Kesem, and Big Brothers Big Sisters to show how STEM education can crossover into nearly any area. Each session has a fun theme like fashion or sports to show that any passion can be combined with STEM knowledge. MakerGirl hopes to inspire young thinkers to gain interest in these areas and pursue a career in STEM fields.
WHY 3D PRINTING?
3D printing provides a kinesthetic, engaging, and creative experience for young girls’ introduction into STEM fields. Our 3D printing sessions allow girls to create and envision ideas, while also giving them the satisfaction of being able to hold their creation in their hands at the end. With 3D printing technology, ideas can be developed and tested faster, and at a lower cost. The possibilities of what can create are endless.
Our sessions are currently held at the University of Illinois’ MakerLab, the world's first Business School 3D Printing Lab. With over 15 Ultimaker 3D Printers, a friendly staff of 3D printing Gurus and a creative environment for anyone to work in, our sessions have always been a joy for our girls.
Our sessions are typically two hours and can be divided into three sections: The brainstorming process, the design process, and the printing process.
The Brainstorming Process: At the beginning of each session, the girls are introduced with either a problem or an area that 3D printing has been impacting. For example, in a recent session, we introduced 3D printed prosthetics and asked girls to design an object that can help someone. They are then given time to brainstorm their ideas and design them on paper.
The Design Process: The girls then begin designing their object on a simple CAD, an easy-to-design 3D modelling software. This kid-friendly software allows the girls to easily create and combine shapes and text together to create their object. Once complete, our team will transfer their design onto the 3-D printing software and adjust the sizing and final printing options.
The Printing Process: Printing generally takes less than 20 minutes, where girls can see their creation come to life layer by layer. For many girls who have never seen a 3D printer prior to a session, this part of the session teaches them the step-by-step process of 3D printing. They are able to fully explain how a 3D printer works and are always eager to teach their parents when they come to pick them up. After printing their objects, the girls then showcase their design to other students and parents and explain their creation.
Past Sessions and Expansion:
In Chicago, MakerGirl has hosted sessions at the British International School and the 3D Printer Experience and plan to host more sessions in the city.
After a successful pilot session at Southern Illinois, we are currently working on building a team and training new members to start hosting sessions there.
Within Champaign, we have hosted a joint session with Preemadonna and partnered with elementary schools, summer camps, and the local Orpheum Children’s Museum.
WHAT ARE YOU FUNDING FOR?
Why a Goal of $30,000?
Along with the aid of grants, company support and donations, our Kickstarter Campaign is focused on covering the expenses to furnish and operate each session with 3D printers and laptops, along with covering the travel and board costs for our travel team.
No project is successful without the support and encouragement from others, such as you! By backing our campaign, you are not only making MakerGirl one step closer to reach our goals, but you are providing young girls the wonderful opportunity to become the next generation of thinkers, leaders, innovators, and Change-makers.
With the help of our supporters, if we are able to reach our funding goal, any additional donations will go towards the cost of more equipment for our mobile unit. Specifically, this would include buying more plastic filament in different colors, tables and chairs to host sessions outdoors, and more laptops to accommodate for more girls. This would allow us to host more sessions and reach out to more girls by extending our trip.
If you are interested in donating physical items for our project, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
MEET OUR TRAVEL TEAM!
Stephanie Hein: Engagement Director Stephanie is a senior studying Molecular and Cellular Biology and Chemistry at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She plans to pursue a PhD in STEM Education after she graduates. In addition to MakerGirl, Stephanie is a member of the varsity swim team and the Illini Leadership Academy. She also promotes chemistry education for young children through the Chemistry REACT Program.
Manisha Singh: External Director Manisha is a senior studying Applied Math and Economics. She hopes to pursue a career in Data Science after graduating. Besides MakerGirl, Manisha is also involved with Raas Mania and volunteering in the Champaign-Urbana area. She has a special interest in social entrepreneurship and discovering unique, creative ways to help the community.
Kendall Furbee: Internal Marketing Manager Kendall is a freshman studying Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Illinois. With her degree, she hopes to make the world a better place by contributing to stem cell research and organ regeneration. In addition to MakerGirl, Kendall is involved in Engineers Without Borders and Phi Sigma Sigma. Kendall loves traveling, volunteering, and spending her free time outdoors. As an out of state student, she would love to see MakerGirl expand to reach girls across the United States and eventually, across the world.
Hear the ravings from parents whose daughters attended our sessions:
PRESS AND SUPPORT:
MBA Mama: "...can create a nationwide community of changemakers ... and it can form a support network that will last for years to come."
PEN: "...more creative ways to teach subjects that were typically left for later in life..."
Svaha: "...so ambitious & inspiring that it just fills us with warm fuzzies."
UIUC College of Engineering: "...the goal of the startup hits home."
ChicagoInno: "...wants to change that."
3Ders.org: "I stand by the thought that 3D printing sessions like what MakerGirl is after does so much more."
Talk to us!
If you have any questions, comments, or ideas for us, let us know!
Shoot us an email: email@example.com
Check out our Website: makergirl.us
Risks and challenges
In order to mitigate the risks of driving across the country, each member of the travel team will receive training and exposure to the mobile unit prior to launching. By contacting organizations and communities in advance, we will be able to create a safe network and travel route prior to the summer. We will minimize driving risks in all possible ways, such as avoiding long night drives, having internet access in our mobile unit, and traveling in high traffic areas.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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