How it all started

This is our story




About Us

In August of 2014, four diverse, young women began a Social Entrepreneurship class led by Noah Isserman and Ryan Singh at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana. Little did the women know, they would start a movement that would impact their own life trajectories in addition to the life trajectories of young girls and women in their dreams for a creating a promising future.

Mid-way into the semester, they were posed and challenged with a simple question,

“What bothers you?”

One of the four group members, Elizabeth Engele, immediately thought of some of her peers. On a campus that offered limitless opportunities for female students to make anything of themselves, she noticed and found herself oftentimes discussing meaningless, non-opportunistic topics. She hoped there was more to campus life and her future career. Julia Haried quickly drew from her past research about the lack of women in C-suite positions. Their conversation moved to, “why is that?” and “What can we do to change these issues?”

From this inspiration, Engele, Haried, Sophie Li, and Emily Woodward created MakerGirl--a mission driven program about more than 3D printing. MakerGirl seeks to inspire young girls to be active in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) and to continue to say “Yes!” to future challenges by offering design and 3D printing workshops.

  1. First Logic Model

    October 10, 2014

    The first logic model for MakerGirl is created after challenged to think about ‘what bothers you’ and to create a program that counteracts what bothers us

  2. Clump Day

    October 15, 2014

    Elizabeth Engele, Julia Haried, Sophie Li, and Emily Woodward meet on 'Clump Day' and a team forms around the idea of MakerGirl

  3. First Pilot Session

    December 2, 2014

    Introduces 6 new sessions for the Spring semester and all sessions sell out!

  4. iVenture Accelerator

    March 26, 2015

    MakerGirl accepted into iVenture Accelerator MakerGirl receives support from Johnson Controls MakerGirl featured on TV

  5. Southern Illinois Session

    July 18, 2015

    MakerGirl performs a pilot session in Southern Illinois

  6. 501(c)3 Application

    October 14, 2015

    MakerGirl officially receives 501(c)3 status

  7. Preemadonna and That’s What She Said

    October 17, 2015

    Preemadonna and That’s What She Said partners for two sessions!

The first session was piloted in November of 2014 with seven 7-10 year old girls from the Champaign-Urbana community. From its inception, MakerGirl has gone on to provide classes for girls across the State of Illinois. Whether it be a beaming smile on a MakerGirl’s face as she watches her design come to life on a 3D printer or witnessing our own team members embrace and “lean in” to their leadership positions, we have had moments that continue to inspire us to create programs that support our mission and vision. We invite you to question what it means to be a “Maker” in your own life and join and support us in this movement.



Core Values

  1. 1. Communicate candidly through thick and thin!

  2. 2. Be enthusiastic and passionate! Positivity is contagious.

  3. 3. Changemakers exceed expectations.

  4. 4. Make the game so big that failure is inevitable, and when failure happens, celebrate it.

  5. 5. Enjoy constraints - they drive creativity.

  6. 6. Be accountable for your work. Have integrity.

  7. 7. Roll up your sleeves and get involved with every aspect of MakerGirl. Everyone should be accessible every day.

  8. 8. Don’t wait for someone to tell you what to do. Take initiative, and make it so good that they can’t refuse.

  9. 9. No idea is too large, wild, or small; however, ideas are a commodity, and execution of them is not.

  10. 10. WE ARE ALL FOUNDERS OF MakerGirl - so make your mark.




The Team


Elizabeth Engele Co-Founder & Executive Director
Julia Haried Co-Founder & Executive Director
Stephanie Hein Engagement Director
Lauren Wenig Marketing Director
Manisha Singh External Director
Sona Kaul Finance Director
Caitlyn Deegan Team Manager
Joseph Milla Website & Data Manager
Charlotte Israel Innovation Manager
Alyssa Raggio Outreach Manager
Marie Millan Design Manager
Premika Pandian Blogger & Web Designer
Jaime Mathew Design Manager
Vivian Bui Team Member
Katherine Grindstaff Internal Marketing Manager
Kendall Furbee Internal Marketing Manager
Crystal Chen Promotional Marketing Manager
Devon Goszkowicz Summer Manager

Board of Advisors


Nick Timmons Director of Sales and Product Marketing at Personify
Pree Walia CEO & Co-Founder, Preemadonna
Angela Wolters Associate Director, Women in Engineering at University of Illinois
Candace Mueller Vice President, Global Communications, Hyatt Hotels Corporation
Noah Isserman University of Illinois Visiting Asst Professor, Business Administration + Social Work Director, Social Innovation at Illinois Faculty Director, iVenture Accelerator
Ashley Terrill Core Manager, LinkedIn Marketing Solutions
James Keane Global Director, Growth Development Platforms & Innovation @ AB-InBev