Did you know only 7% of mechanical engineers are female? Let's change this!
Through KiraKira, we are redesigning the way girls learn engineering with our female focused online design and 3D printing lessons.
Help fund us to create our first set of 100 online classes that anyone can take anywhere!
We are so excited to be teaching girls everywhere engineering software like Autodesk, Rhino and Solidworks through a problem-solving and design-focused approach and we can't wait to see this statistic change!
We have launched our Kickstarter Campaign to raise $30,000, money we will use to create 100 online lessons as well as to develop our interactive website which encourages students to create their very own 3D models. We will sell these designs on our site and proceeds will go to the student's college tuition fund.
If we reach our stretch goal, we will be opening PopUp Schools in NYC, San Francisco, & Charlottesville, VA in early 2016.
We have already reached over 400 students online and in classrooms from coast to coast and need your support to help us continue to encourage young women to become talented engineers.
My name is Suz Somersall and I'm an industrial designer. I studied visual art and architecture at Brown and 3D printing and manufacturing at RISD. After college, I founded my jewelry company Suz Somersall. I've teamed up with our creative director and UX designer Malena Southworth to run this Kickstarter Campaign to help fund our new company, KIRAKIRA which will help teach girls and young women 3D modeling software through jewelry design.
All of our jewelry at Suz Somersall is created through mechanical engineering software like SolidWorks, AutoDesk and Rhinoceros. These are the exact same programs used by professionals ranging from aerospace and mechanical engineers to architects.
After researching tutorials to teach my students and interns, I realized that most existing classes are very uninspiring and intimidating for girls. Rather than teach girls how to design wrenches, I wanted to teach girls how to 3D model through something that would excite them, and I realized an easy way to do this: through both art and designs as well as a storytelling approach that troubleshoots the design process.
Through our work with the Aerospace & Mechanical Engineering Department at The University of Virginia and our talented advisors and student interns there, we are creating a curriculum to teach transferable skills, commands and concepts through our classes.
Examples of career opportunities requiring knowledge of the programs we teach at KIRAKIRA aCADemy:
SolidWorks/AutoCAD/AutoDesk Inventor – used by mechanical and aerospace engineers and many more!
Rhinoceros – used by architects, UX designers, UI designers, graphic designers, ID designers and many more!
STEPS to LEARN & then to CREATE your OWN designs!
#1 Download free student software and begin taking our free trial lessons for learning AutoDesk, Rhino and SolidWorks. Through our aCADemy (CAD - Computer Aided Design), learn fundamentals & commands of various mechanical engineering programs through affordable beginner, intermediate, and advanced classes offered online. Enjoy classes anytime, anywhere! Our aCADemy can be accessed 24/7 online!
#2 Complete a class and submit your .stl (3D file) to us online. We will help you troubleshoot your file and make sure it's printable. Upon completion, you can order the item in gold, silver, or bronze.
#3 We encourage you to take what you learned and create your own designs! Submit them to us and we will curate a KIRAKIRA store with all of YOUR designs. On KIRAKIRA.COM we sell all of the designs that we teach you how to make and also sell your designs! Just upload your designs and we will produce the pieces for you and sell them in our shop!
Everytime your pieces sell, you will earn points and funds that will be contributed to your school's STEM program or your own college tuition savings!
#4 Use this knowledge as a foundation for creating whatever you can imagine, not just jewelry! And use these programs to take more classes with us and in school to become anything you can imagine, from a jewelry designer to an aerospace engineer to an architect!
OUR GOAL: $30,000
With your support, our $30,000 we will be used to create 100 new classes to teach girls the fundamentals mechanical engineering and 3D modeling. We have to pay our local female mechanical engineering undergrad and grad mentors to create the curriculum as well as our female high school students who practice and film each class with guidance from our mentors.
The funds will also help to build our online academy and e-commerce shop that sells our students designs. Proceeds from these sales go to the student's STEM program or their own college tuition fund.
We already have the foundation with free classes online but we need to develop a site that allows for girls to create user accounts, submit their own designs, trouble shoot with our engineers and order their own creations directly from our site.
OUR STRETCH GOAL: $75,000
With a stretch goal of $75,000 we will be able to set up a PopUp Academy, 3D printing & design school, in Hayes Valley (San Francisco) and Upper West Side (New York City) to offer hands on lessons for using the 3D printers and the software that we teach.
This past year we worked with female mechanical engineering students at the University of Virginia and local middle schools and high schools to create the current classes available online at KIRAKIRA.COM, our starter online program for KIRAKIRA aCADemy.
We realized the need to slowly build up girls' confidence through beginner classes that teach how to think spatially through 2D sketches and 3D renderings. We want to build their vocabulary of commands, like how to extrude, join vectors, fillet edges. We can then help girls move to more complex ideas like wrapping objects around curves, creating negative space in objects and more.
After completing our classes, our initial goal is to have our students create their own designs which we will help them put into production and share/sell on KIRAKIRA.COM. Our end goal is for them to realize their potential in any number of engineering careers.
It's crazy how many people are buying 3D printers, including schools, and how few people actually know how to use them! 3D printers are becoming cheaper and more available every day but the number of people who can actually create customized objects with them using mechanical engineering software is exceedingly small.
By 2018 the 3D printing market is expected to grow by 500%. From building 2500 sq foot homes in less than 24 hours to bio-printing organs for transplants, the future applications of 3D printing are limitless.
This means that the possibility for women to occupy careers in science, technology, engineering and math, and specifically in the space of 3D modeling will be more important than ever. Women's minds and creativity should be at the forefront of the solving our society's complex needs.
*All of the jewelry rewards were designed by the KIRAKIRA team using the 3D modeling software that we teach. Each piece is 18k gold plated bronze. We will email you upon your donation and you can select from any of the jewelry options above and more!
With our campaign ending so close to the holidays, we'd like to offer you the option to choose your ship date, in case you decide to gift your rewards! You will receive more details on selecting jewelry and shipment info when the Kickstarter ends!
Suz Somersall - KIRAKIRA co-founder and CEO, studied art and architecture as an undergrad at Brown University, 3D Modeling and Manufacturing as a graduate student at The Rhode Island School of Design, and launched KIRAKIRA.COM while at The University of Virginia Darden Business School's Incubator.
Malena Southworth - KIRAKIRA co-founder & CTO, studied advertising, art and graphic design at San Diego State University and is the owner of the boutique stationery and design studio, Little Bird Paperie.
Lolly Lux - Operations Manager and Studio Manager.
Claire LeBond - KIRAKIRA engineering and design intern and senior at Charlottesville High School.
Amy Brudin - KIRAKIRA collaborator and Director of Educational Technology at Peabody School.
Katy Burgio - KIRAKIRA engineering and design intern and 4th year engineering student at The University of Virginia.
Zaynah Pando - KIRAKIRA videographer and creative and co-owner of PANDO films.
NOV 2nd - Kickstarter Launch Date!
DEC 2nd - Kickstarter End Date
DEC 7th - Shipping begins!
JAN 1st - First 50 lessons are up!
FEB 1st - All 100 lessons are up!
If you believe in our project, please help us to spread the word! Here are a few pre-written posts for you to simply copy and paste:
I just backed @kirakirajewels on @kickstarter! Check out their 3D modeling & printing classes for girls #designlikeagirl #ilooklikeanengineer - http://kck.st/1Rq7vJI
Check out @kirakirajewels on @kickstarter. They offer free #3dprinting classes for girls & #3dprinted jewelry #designlikeagirl #ilooklikeanengineer http://kck.st/1Rq7vJI
Want to explore more? Check out our:
We wish that we could ship to you for free, but we’re not there yet. Kickstarter will automatically add in the shipping cost for you depending on if you require domestic or international shipping. Thank you for your understanding!
Risks and challenges
A potential risk will be getting our website and online classes developed quickly enough to support all of the students that want to learn. We want to have our site set up with a forum to discuss each lesson, F.A.Q.s and 9am - 5pm tech support chat windows. We realize this will take a lot of dedication, but all of the girls and women at KiraKira are devoted to the cause!
Other risks include getting our PopUps fully staffed and set up in San Francisco and NYC. We have done 4 PopUp Shops in Manhattan and Brooklyn, so our team knows what to expect but we realize we have to be very dedicated to our mission and keep our team focused and motivated from coast to coast.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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