Made By Me, for the world

by: Elizabeth Engele

Growing up, one of my favorite activities was going to a store with my aunts in St. Louis called Made By Me. We spent hours at this craft shop prepping my notebooks for the next school year or cutting and pasting magazine clippings to turn into a customized purse or gifts for my friends. The items were sentimental because they included pictures of role model athletes and celebrities, inspiring quotes, and pictures of places I would want to vacation to, somewhat like a vision board.  Every single time, I confidently wore that purse to movie dates with my family or proudly displayed the fact that my school notebooks were unique. It was also special to go with my creative, cool aunts who I only saw once in a great while.

My experiences at Made By Me—to this day— stand out in my childhood. Not only did I get to spend hours on hours of “play” time with my aunts in a creative environment, but I was given and received confidence while my aunts and I would gush over the pieces that we had created together.  After sending Made By Me gifts to a long-distance friend and hearing her burst with joy, I was shown how giving is better than receiving. It didn’t matter if the items created were a little mod podge messy, what mattered is that I left Made By Me with a treasured experience in which I learned the power of creative confidence and generosity. The power of making still resonates with me today, 20 years later, because of my Made By Me experience.  

In a social entrepreneurship class senior year at the University of Illinois, I was asked to create a solution countering the question of what bothers me.  It bothers me that more girls don’t have the confidence to build, and girls don’t go into STEM for two reasons:

1. They don’t think STEM is creative.

2. They don’t think they can make an impact with STEM.  

I immediately thought of my Made By Me experience because it solves both of these gaps--creativity for obvious reasons and crafting products that I would actually use showed me that I can have an impact.  I chose 3D printing as the experience because girls can act like architects when crafting items on TinkerCad, and be proud to show off their 3D printed items at the end, just like I had while crafting my purses and notebooks.

I look back and realize that it is this  experience that instilled a “maker mindset” within me.  A “maker mindset,” as defined by MakerGirl, is one that allows girls (and boys) to say “yes to the challenges of the future”. It enabled me to understand that I have the power to make beautiful ideas come to life.

No matter the age, I would encourage fostering a maker mindset for the following reasons:

  • Confidence:  For someone with a maker mindset, it’s not  about “if” I will built it, it’s about “how.”  I still have confidence in my ability to make cards and send them to my friends, even if I have no formal art training. That’s because of my “Made By Me” experience.

  • Positivity / Happiness: When you have a maker mindset, challenges aren’t frustrating obstacles, but rather opportunities to learn and think creatively. For example, one morning, I was annoyed when my computer wouldn’t start to take notes for my sales call, so I  ended up doodling the notes instead. I know it sounds cheesy, but this creative exercise made my morning memorable and fun!

  • Teamwork:  People with maker mindsets are confident in their strengths and admit to their flaws. They see team projects as opportunities to bring out the best in people and learn from others. A maker mindset takes out the ego that can often get in the way of effective teamwork.

Of course, these three traits cannot be instilled with just one experience, but multiple “Made By Me” experiences can empower someone to develop their maker identity.  There is one simple process, that if repeated multiple times, can instill this identity:

Make → Affirm → Reflect → Repeat

This model allows for rapid prototyping. Rapid prototyping makes it easier to overcome tomorrow’s challenges. Solving worthy problems in challenging industries starts with a maker mindset because it allows one to think big by starting with baby steps.

On a tactical level, here’s how I would suggest developing a maker mindset in both children and adults:

  1. Get involved in the social community of making: Attend local Maker Faire events, where you can learn about cutting-edge technology toys like UltimakerRaspberry Pi, and Arduino kits.

  2. Ensure time is set aside for play: Whether it be cooking a new recipe, making a card for a loved one, etc. Prioritize one play activity per week to ensure your mind has time to wander and explore.

  3. Bring fellow makers (a'hem, everyone) into the conversation: Always ask for feedback because self-improvement is never complete. One of my favorite questions is, “Tell me on thing I don’t want to hear.” It gives the other person space to say one thing she/he might not have brought up before. The question allows for honesty and creativity into seeing another person’s perspective. I can’t imagine how limitless the responses would be from kids when asking for their constructive feedback.

I define myself as a maker because I was affirmed of that as a child and still practice it as an adult. In building MakerGirl, I’m always trying to to innovate and in my full-time role LinkedIn, I’m eager to create new ways of connecting with my team and the thousands of nonprofits I serve. With experiences like Made By Me and now MakerGirl, we are creating makers who will transform their communities and world.

I’d love to learn from you.  In what ways have you?

  • Allowed time to make?

  • Found little or sizable ways to encourage your community of makers?

(Originally posted on Elizabeth’s LinkedIn profile.)


MakerGirl Northwestern Academy: One Year Later and Moving Forward

by: Nancy Yao

On January 15th of last year, my soon-to-be co-director Amanda and I walked into a Whole Foods in Chicago and were greeted with a hug by MakerGirl co-founder Lizzy Engele for the first time.

At the time, I had only heard about MakerGirl from a contact in Northwestern’s SWE chapter, and had obtained cursory knowledge from browsing the website – not much, but enough for me to see the great things MakerGirl was accomplishing. My goal in setting up a meeting with Lizzy was simply to gauge how Northwestern students could get involved helping out at MakerGirl sessions. Our future partnership was a vague, far-off idea and the concept of forming our own academy was something I had barely considered.

Hearing Lizzy talk about MakerGirl and its mission was a turning point for me – her passion for this organization and its impact was captivating. That two college students founded this organization which has grown so much in just a few years seemed impossible.

Now, just one eventful year after that first meeting, it’s crazy to see how far the Northwestern Academy has come. In 2018, we built a network from scratch of Evanston and Chicago area schools, libraries, and parent associations, and had opportunities to partner with other established organizations doing great work with kids, such as Codeverse and the Girl Scouts. We laid the foundation of our new academy, built a team of 12 brilliant female university students, and organized four successful sessions.

And for me, MakerGirl was the most defining experience of my final year in college. Last December, I finished my time at Northwestern. As sad as it is to step back from my role in MakerGirl, I know I’m leaving it in great hands. I’ve loved working so closely with my amazing co-directors, Rika and Amanda, and the rest of our Northwestern team, and I can’t thank them enough for the journey and accomplishments we’ve achieved together.

The past year was a whirlwind of scheduling meetings and attending conference calls, recruiting team members and working out session logistics. It was exhausting at times, but every session we held was the only reminder I needed for why we do what we do. The elementary school girls who attended had an excitement for designing and creating that is so easy for us college students to forget. At that age, curiosity and creativity come so naturally to kids, and they’re free to learn without worrying about limitations – I could see that in the way they were so focused working with TinkerCAD or watching the prints. Girls who were shy at the beginning of a session became animated and talkative within an hour, and every girl who attended left happy.

I joined MakerGirl because as a computer science student, I was already starting to see what it was like to work in an overwhelmingly male-dominated industry. As I move forward and move on to work in the tech industry, it’s comforting to know that there are bright young girls out there being exposed to STEM and being given access to mentorship from the strong and ambitious women I’ve met through MakerGirl.


2018 Holiday STEM Gift Guide

For the Scientist:

Crystal Growing Kit, Ages 10 & Up, purchase it    here    The perfect stocking stuffer for your budding scientist, this crystal growing kit contains everything you need to grow crystals at home! Watch as your crystals form, change, and grow over several days. Available in a variety of colors.

Crystal Growing Kit, Ages 10 & Up, purchase it here

The perfect stocking stuffer for your budding scientist, this crystal growing kit contains everything you need to grow crystals at home! Watch as your crystals form, change, and grow over several days. Available in a variety of colors.

Circuit Scribe, Ages 8 & Up, purchase it    here    The Circuit Scribe Basic Maker Kit teaches your little scientist about circuits and conductivity using a touch-sensitive pen and lights! The kit includes 27 pages of modules and lessons and is the perfect combination of art and science.

Circuit Scribe, Ages 8 & Up, purchase it here

The Circuit Scribe Basic Maker Kit teaches your little scientist about circuits and conductivity using a touch-sensitive pen and lights! The kit includes 27 pages of modules and lessons and is the perfect combination of art and science.

Ada Twist, Scientist  by Andrea Beaty, Ages 5 & Up, purchase it    here    Looking for a book about science, girl power, and perseverance? Look no further than Andrea Beaty’s Ada Twist, Scientist! Inspired by real-life scientists, this book emphasizes the importance of asking “why?”.

Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty, Ages 5 & Up, purchase it here

Looking for a book about science, girl power, and perseverance? Look no further than Andrea Beaty’s Ada Twist, Scientist! Inspired by real-life scientists, this book emphasizes the importance of asking “why?”.

For the Technologist:

Solar-Powered Bug Kit, Ages 10 & Up, purchase it    here    Learn about solar technology with the Solar-Powered Bug Kit! Powered by the sun or a non-fluorescent light, this grasshopper-sized robot wiggles and lights up when charged. The perfect gift to teach your technology enthusiast about alternative energy sources.

Solar-Powered Bug Kit, Ages 10 & Up, purchase it here

Learn about solar technology with the Solar-Powered Bug Kit! Powered by the sun or a non-fluorescent light, this grasshopper-sized robot wiggles and lights up when charged. The perfect gift to teach your technology enthusiast about alternative energy sources.

Kano Harry Potter Coding Kit, Ages 6 & Up, purchase it    here    Enter the world of Harry Potter and create magic with the Kano Harry Potter Coding Kit! The kit comes with everything needed for your young wizard to build and code their very own wand. Step by step guides and the free Kano app bring the magic to life!

Kano Harry Potter Coding Kit, Ages 6 & Up, purchase it here

Enter the world of Harry Potter and create magic with the Kano Harry Potter Coding Kit! The kit comes with everything needed for your young wizard to build and code their very own wand. Step by step guides and the free Kano app bring the magic to life!

Doll-E 1.0  by Shanda McCloskey, Ages 4-7, purchase it    here    A tribute to the tinkerer and inventor in all of us, Doll-E 1.0 follows Charlotte as she uses her skills to re-engineer her doll. Emphasizing the importance of open-mindedness and play, this is the perfect book for the young and curious technologist in your life.

Doll-E 1.0 by Shanda McCloskey, Ages 4-7, purchase it here

A tribute to the tinkerer and inventor in all of us, Doll-E 1.0 follows Charlotte as she uses her skills to re-engineer her doll. Emphasizing the importance of open-mindedness and play, this is the perfect book for the young and curious technologist in your life.

For the Engineer:

Civil Engineer Tape, Ages 3 & Up, purchase it    here    Allow your little engineer to pave the way with a roll of Civil Engineer Tape. Engineer roads, highways, intersections and more with this fun roll of tape. Designed for matchbox-sized cars, this small gift is perfect for fostering imaginative play.

Civil Engineer Tape, Ages 3 & Up, purchase it here

Allow your little engineer to pave the way with a roll of Civil Engineer Tape. Engineer roads, highways, intersections and more with this fun roll of tape. Designed for matchbox-sized cars, this small gift is perfect for fostering imaginative play.

STAX: Insane Magnetic Building Blocks, Ages 8-108, purchase it    here    Looking for the perfect building toy? Look no further than STAX! These insane magnetic building blocks are fun for kids and adults alike and it comes with a magnetic building plate to build and fidget on the go. Check out the wide variety of colors, from blues and greens to pinks and reds.

STAX: Insane Magnetic Building Blocks, Ages 8-108, purchase it here

Looking for the perfect building toy? Look no further than STAX! These insane magnetic building blocks are fun for kids and adults alike and it comes with a magnetic building plate to build and fidget on the go. Check out the wide variety of colors, from blues and greens to pinks and reds.

How Things Work  by Conrad Mason, Ages 5 & Up, purchase it    here    This interactive lift-the-flap book is filled with factual information about real machines, gadgets and inventions. It even includes links to websites with supplemental games and experiments. Perfect for your budding engineer!

How Things Work by Conrad Mason, Ages 5 & Up, purchase it here

This interactive lift-the-flap book is filled with factual information about real machines, gadgets and inventions. It even includes links to websites with supplemental games and experiments. Perfect for your budding engineer!

For the Mathematician:

Rubik’s Key Chain, Ages 8 & Up, purchase it    here    The classic Rubik’s puzzle, now in a working key chain! Clip it on a backpack or tuck it in your pocket for puzzle-solving on the go.

Rubik’s Key Chain, Ages 8 & Up, purchase it here

The classic Rubik’s puzzle, now in a working key chain! Clip it on a backpack or tuck it in your pocket for puzzle-solving on the go.

Prime Climb, Ages 10 & Up, purchase it    here    Part strategy game, part math game, Prime Climb is perfect for math-lovers, both kids and adults alike! The color coding system makes multiplication and division quick and easy to learn, all while teaching about prime numbers.

Prime Climb, Ages 10 & Up, purchase it here

Part strategy game, part math game, Prime Climb is perfect for math-lovers, both kids and adults alike! The color coding system makes multiplication and division quick and easy to learn, all while teaching about prime numbers.

Counting on Katherine  by Helaine Becker, Ages 5-9, purchase it    here    Go behind the scenes of the Apollo 13 moon landing and meet Katherine Johnson, the mastermind mathematician behind the success of the mission. Inspiring, engaging and informative, this book will introduce your child to their new favorite STEM role model.

Counting on Katherine by Helaine Becker, Ages 5-9, purchase it here

Go behind the scenes of the Apollo 13 moon landing and meet Katherine Johnson, the mastermind mathematician behind the success of the mission. Inspiring, engaging and informative, this book will introduce your child to their new favorite STEM role model.


Northwestern's First Session of the Year is a Success

by: Val Apolinario

I could feel the excitement in the air as the girls were brought in by their parents. Some were first-timers who had no idea what to expect, and others waited expectantly for us to begin.

The myriad of orange, yellow, and red leaves right outside the library had encouraged us to choose an Autumn theme. We asked the girls about their favorite parts of Fall and their answers still bring a smile to my face: hot chocolate, snuggling up in their blankets, and of course, all the candy they would receive from Halloween.

After an eventful brainstorming session, the MakerGirl team led the girls over to the computers, where they would build their creations using TinkerCad. I was partnered up with Lily, who wanted to 3D print an apple.

Although we only had a few shapes we could work with, Lily and the others girls took this in stride. A squiggly line became a cat’s tail, a circle became a key chain ring, and a sphere and a cylinder stacked together became an apple. As an engineer, I’ve learned that sometimes you have to work within constraints, and it was amazing to see how easy it was for them to do it.

The room became abuzz with whirring machines beginning the girls’ creations. Each of them watched as the data was transferred from their laptops to the printers. The machine configured and began to create their designs. Lily pulled up a chair next to the machine to watch, transfixed by the movements of the pink filament.

I believe that the sooner we introduce the magic of science into children’s lives, the sooner they can begin to explore the world and ask more questions. There should be no limit to the imagination. 3D printing can be used to create the girls’ wonderful designs, hip and shoulder implants, car parts, really, anything we can think of. For young girls especially, being exposed to this can be the beginning of a lifelong fascination with science. With constant encouragement and curiosity, they can dream of doing anything and becoming anyone they want to be. I am a MakerGirl because I want to encourage girls to be smart and creative, because I know they are. I want them to know that science and technology is an option for them, that it’s a vibrant field that helps shape the world we live in.

At the end of the session, each of the girls went home with their designs, along with a few leaf tracings and bookmarks they had made while their creations had printed. There were cats, hot chocolate mugs, and dogs that hadn’t existed before the session that exist now in the world. I am incredibly proud of these girls and their limitless creativity. I know that this is just the beginning of many more amazing sessions.


Our 2018 Bonding Trip to Chicago

by: Rachel Berg

The first weekend of October was our annual team bonding trip in Chicago. I have been on the UIUC team for the past two years and this year was the most engaging trip we have had to date. From the co-founders and CEO, to the UIUC team and newly established Northwestern academy, we had over 20 MakerGirl leaders join us. A few alumni and board of adviser members were even able to join us Friday evening too. It was eye-opening to see how far we have come and have all of the amazing people who have contributed to MakerGirl so far all in one shared space together.

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Friday

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Friday evening started off with dinner at City Winery. This was something that was added to the agenda this year and one of my personal favorite highlights. Everyone was able to truly get to know each other and talk about all of the recent successes of MakerGirl. From the Board of Advisors to the Northwestern directors, everyone met someone new. I had the chance to get to know the Northwestern directors more and talk about the ideas they have for the sessions they run. The new UIUC team members, met our co-founders Julia and Lizzy for the first time. Julia and Lizzy bring so much drive and inspire each and every one of us to be go-getters for the future. The energy I felt at dinner was indescribable. And of course, we ate some delicious food!

Afterwards, we had to get dessert so we headed off to Bombobar for gelato, doughnuts, and coffee… yum!

Saturday

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On Saturday, 8 of us went to The Escape Game. We tried our hand at the Special Ops mission and broke out with only a couple minutes left! Everyone’s different perspectives helped us solve the different puzzles together. After all of the critical thinking, we refueled at SweetGreen.

The last thing on the agenda was attending the Women in Innovation event held by SoGal Chicago in the Build312 entrepreneurial space. We networked with the speakers Michael Donnelly (founder of FWD Collective), Ashley Moy (CEO of Cast21), and Kristen Sonday (Co-Founder of Paladin). The speakers talked about what it’s truly like being an entrepreneur- both the successes and struggles. I was inspired listening to how their companies and organizations grew and how they were able to overcome challenges. I have a renewed drive for my life after this event. These women work fearlessly for a cause they are passionate about and that is what I strive to do.

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As for me, I will be graduating this upcoming May. Although this was my last team bonding trip as a student, I know I will continue to help with MakerGirl however I can and definitely go to next year’s team bonding events to meet MakerGirl’s future team leaders.

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MAKERGIRL ANNOUNCES FIRST FULL-TIME CEO

Expands Midwest Presence for Greater Impact on Young Girls

CHICAGO - MakerGirl, a non-for-profit organization dedicated to educating and inspiring young girls to pursue science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields through 3D printing sessions, has appointed Stephanie Hein as their first CEO, effective September 4, 2018.

Hein’s responsibilities will include overseeing the expansion of new Maker Girl Academies, ensuring both the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) and Northwestern University Academies are sustainable and supported. In addition, she will coordinate fundraising efforts with a goal to impact 10,000 girls by 2023, including half from underrepresented and rural communities.

“Stephanie is the ideal person to help expand our programing and locations so MakerGirl can have a greater impact on the lives of young girls.” said Julia Haried, co-founder. “She has a deep understanding of what is needed for the next generation of tech-minded girls to join the competitive ranks of men in STEM careers. In the future, 3D printing has an estimated market opportunity of $170B1. We are confident MakerGirl will continue to thrive under her leadership and that she will work tirelessly to have every girl in the country be a MakerGirl.”

Hein served as MakerGirl’s Engagement Director in 2016 and assisted raising over $30,000 through a Kickstarter campaign and organized #MakerGirlGoesMobile, a 10,000 mile cross-country road trip that brought 3D printing sessions to over 1,000 girls in rural and underserved communities across the country.

“Since launching MakerGirl, we have expanded to offer special coding and robotics classes at Northwestern University. DePaul University soon will offer sessions as well as universities in the Midwest and beyond,” said co-founder, Elizabeth Engele. “We can’t wait to see where Stephanie’s passion for education and STEM will take us.”

“After experiencing the first MakerGirl session in 2015, I immediately wanted to be a part of the MakerGirl team and help further such an important mission,” said Hein, MakerGirl chief executive officer. “Growing up I was always interested in STEM but never had the chance to participate in anything like MakerGirl, which is why I am passionate about giving young girls the chance to explore STEM fields through 3D printing. I couldn’t be more excited to be back at MakerGirl driving change alongside the wonderful teams of students we have at our UIUC and Northwestern Academies.”

Hein is a graduate of Educational Studies Master’s program at the University of Michigan as well as a former student-athlete and Molecular Biology major at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her interests include informal learning environments, science, communication, STEM education, and women in STEM. She gained educational programming experience at her former position at Toyology Toys. She was a store leader of Toyology Toys in Bloomfield Hills, MI. Hein ran educational programming efforts at local schools and was responsible for creating toy-based educational programs, finalizing program sales and facilitating events.

For more about MakerGirl visit our website at makergirl.us or email info@makergirl.us.

About MakerGirl

MakerGirl is a nonprofit that inspires girls live and dream as unstoppable forces that say “Yes” to the challenges of the future which leads to gender equality in all workplaces. MakerGirl does this through 3D printing sessions for girls ages 7-10. Currently MakerGirl is headquartered at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and has recently expanded to Northwestern University. Since being founded in 2014, MakerGirl has reached over 3,000 girls across the country. All of the sessions teach girls to be creative and analytical through 3D printing and other cutting edge technologies. Girls practice design thinking while designing and printing an object, and they learn about women leaders in STEM and innovative companies.

Over the past two summers, MakerGirl has gone mobile to reach over 1,500 girls in 18 different states. The MakerGirl Goes Mobile program has raised over $45,000. MakerGirl separates itself from other organizations doing the similar work by focusing on 3D printing. There are a lot of different STEM programs for young girls to promote the same mission we have. A lot of these programs focus only on coding. We have not found too many organizations that focus mainly on 3D printing. We chose 3D printing because it allowed participants to leave with a tangible object they can take home to remind them of all the lessons they learned and that they can make anything.

1Wohlers Report 2012, Wohlers Associates, May 15, 2012, pg. 131

How my North Star led me to MakerGirl

by: Kim Quiroga

When I was younger, my dad once told me in Spanish,“If I had had the opportunities that you and your sisters have, I would be on the moon right now.”

My dad immigrated to the United States at the young age of 17, and has been working long days and nights to support our family since he stepped foot onto American soil. At the start of my college career, I promised myself that I would make the most of my college experience and leave my mark on campus, to validate all of my parents’ sacrifices and make sure they were worth all the hardship and pain. I want to reach the moon, not just for me, but for my family.

Junior year, my quest for a new adventure led me to MakerGirl, a nonprofit developed to encourage young girls to pursue an interest in STEM through 3D printing sessions. This was uncharted territory for me. I did not have a STEM background, and in all honesty the thought of something as simple as 3D printing was pretty terrifying for me.

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Prior to attending college, I was not exposed to coding, 3D printing, or what the concept of robotics really was. Jumping head first into MakerGirl introduced me to a different world, and possibilities in fields that I never would have thought were an option for me.

The number of women in STEM careers is appallingly low. But the number of women in these fields that come from underrepresented, low-income backgrounds is almost nonexistent. This is the community that I come from. Minority women comprise fewer than 1 in 10 employed scientists and engineers (NSF, Women, Minorities, and People with Disabilities in Science and Engineering, 2015).

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Freshman year I was told that if I truly wanted to grow and make an impact, I had to become comfortable with the concept of being uncomfortable. Knowing that I not only had my future in my hands, but also my family’s future, the thought of enduring this discomfort and still potentially failing was terrifying. Despite the fear of the unknown, being the oldest of three girls made me feel  that I owed it to my younger sisters and my community to mark my presence in the STEM community and open doors for them. There is something so amazing about seeing someone that looks like you, talks like you, and that comes from where you come from, doing something that you never thought was possible for you. I want young girls to see me and think to themselves, “If she can do it, I can do it too.”

Throughout my time at MakerGirl, I have spearheaded the use and expansion of its social media platforms and marketing campaigns. Having the chance to directly impact this nonprofit has enabled me to embrace the unknown and strive to be the best I can be. I am working toward a mission that is bigger than myself, which is incredible. 

At each MakerGirl session, I am able to touch the lives of bright young stars, whose faces light up once they see their print come to life. I have also had the chance to attend sessions in communities similar to mine, and reach young girls who remind me of an eight-year-old version of myself. MakerGirl has enabled me to learn how to embrace the beauty of the struggle, and to be fearless when pursuing my dreams. When I look at each of those girls, who remind me so much of me, I remember what my dad used to say about being on the moon, and I am reminded of another, more famous, saying: “Shoot for the moon—even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.”
 

How Shaping Young Lives Shaped Me

by: Caitlyn Deegan

My name is Caitlyn Deegan and I have had countless positions and roles in MakerGirl.  I have dedicated the last four years to growing the company and for fighting for something I deeply believe in.  This past May, I graduated from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign with a bachelor of science in Materials Science and Engineering and with a minor in business.  I am currently working as a Manufacturing Excellence coordinator for one of the largest spirits companies in the world, Diageo, in a three year management program.  People always ask me how my job connects to my degree and why I chose to pursue a program like this after studying materials engineering for four years.  MakerGirl, the company, the experience, and the people are what brought me to where I am today and I could not be more appreciative to have been a part of this amazing organization for so long.  

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I started working for MakerGirl as a freshman in college when I heard about the startup through a friend, and that they were searching for passionate women in STEM fields to help send a message to young girls.  I immediately jumped in and the co-founders Julia Haried and Elizabeth Engele did not hesitate to throw me in.  The summer after that year I was running the UIUC section of the company through the iVenture Accelerator on campus.  Working for MakerGirl that summer truly changed my life forever.  I learned how to run a startup and was introduced to many different business aspects like finances and marketing that I was never exposed to in my engineering classes.  After pitching the company all summer and hiring my own team I realized I was passionate about this for so many other reasons and wanted to learn more.  That is when I decided to get a minor in business, to learn as much as I could before graduation.  
 

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The following years I worked on MakerGirl’s curriculum, team management, fundraising, and much more.  For me, throughout the entire experience my favorite part was always leading a session with the young makergirls and seeing their excitement as they learned.  I loved inspiring them and teaching them about STEM and my experience in the field. Their faces lighting up and realizing that they can do anything they put their minds to was so surreal for me.  It was so fulfilling to see my ideas in the company coming through in the sessions and having the girls enjoy it so much.

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When it came time for me to choose my next path in a career I based a lot of my choices off of what I learned through my experience with MakerGirl.  I had been a manager/director for the company for three years and I knew I ultimately wanted to do something similar in my career. This led me to start applications for various management programs and landed me my position for Diageo.  I am learning an incredible amount about a great company and I am sure this was the right decision for my future. I constantly think about how I wouldn’t have gotten here without MakerGirl. This company made me fearless and hardworking.  It gave me passion and taught me to go get what I wanted with confidence. MakerGirl made me who I am today and I am so thankful for the company and the wonderful women that are a part of it that pushed me to where I am now. I may have shaped the lives of many young girls during my time here but the company, the team, and the MakerGirls around the country are truly what shaped me.   

Girl Scouts Learn to 3D Print with MakerGirl

by: Olivia Cole

Back in April, MakerGirl had the pleasure of hosting a session at the Saint Andrew Parish in Chicago for Girl Scouts. This was a really fun opportunity for us to work with Girl Scouts and introduce our newer Northwestern University team to the world of MakerGirl!

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The Girl Scouts were able to learn the basics about TinkerCad and how 3D printing works, while the Northwestern team was able to learn the basics about teaching during a session. It was a learning opportunity for all!

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Just like our sessions on campus, we started this session with introductions and an quick explanation of what 3D printing is and how it can be applied to multiple careers. After introductions, the girls started to design their spring-themed prints, which were then printed in pink, blue, or yellow filament.

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The girls left with their newly printed designs (some had theirs mailed after the session, since there were so many girls), and everyone left with a new love for STEM and 3D printing. This session was definitely a success, and makes me excited for the future of MakerGirl with our Northwestern team!

If you want your Girl Scout troop to host a MakerGirl session, email us at info@makergirl.us to learn more!

CLOZTALK X MAKERGIRL

by: Mary Hadley

MakerGirl is proud to now be a featured nonprofit that is a part of the CLOZTALK community. CLOZTALK is an apparel company whose mission is to help nonprofits build brands and promote causes through their clothing.

“We created CLOZTALK to help awesome causes grow their brands! It is always free for nonprofits and our designers take the logo of an awesome nonprofit, like MakerGirl, and create their webstore for apparel,” Jonny Imerman, Co-Founder of CLOZTALK said. “In repping the MakerGirl logo, people begin to see and recognize the brand and, wearers are encouraged to articulate the mission and purpose to others.”

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CLOZTALK sells 13 types of apparel. Their idea is to have people feel good while repping the causes and wear them as much as they can. They also strive to spark a conversation about nonprofits and different causes through their CLOZTALK truck. By talking face to face with people they can let more people hear about their Cause Partners.

We are so excited to team up with this amazing company because we usually only have apparel for our team members and now have this is a great opportunity for people to be able to buy MakerGirl shirts, hats hoodies and more! CLOZTALK donates 20% of the proceeds back to the causes, so by buying their apparel it will also help MakerGirl. We want to help them reach their goal of seeing a world with everyone wearing cause-based clothing. MakerGirl loves to start a  conversation about how to change the gender gap that exists in STEM jobs and we love that CLOZTALK is committed to continuing conversations about great causes.

“We also created CLOZTALK to make it cool to wear charity apparels and feel good volunteering for a charity by simply rocking its logo to a Cubs game, walking on Michigan Avenue or at the gym,” Imerman said. “Over time, charity brands will grow. We learned this lesson from experimenting at Imerman Angels for years and realized that ‘rockin’ the T’ of a charity logo in a busy city center like Chicago was the driver that got our brand out. Wear because you care and go MakerGirl!”

Be sure to check out our CLOZTALK apparel on and rep MakerGirl wherever you go. Share the link with anyone who wants to support driving change for young girls.

cloztalk.com/collections/makergirl