MakerGirl Inspires Young Girls to be Active in STEM

MakerGirl KickStarter 3D Printing Women In STEM Photo : makergirl.us

MakerGirl is a nonprofit organization dedicated to inspiring girls to be active in STEM through fun and interactive 3D printing lessons. Their sessions teach young girls how to use 3D printing technology while also teaching them about women leaders in STEM fields and innovative companies.

The group recently raised $32,277 through a successful Kickstarter campaign — allowing them to create a mobile 3D printing lab and bring their sessions to girls across the entire country! We reached out to original Co-Founder and Executive Director, Elizabeth Engele to learn more about the amazing work she’s doing with MakerGirl and the plans they have for the future.

Tell us a little about yourself

Elizabeth Engele MakerGirl UIUC

I am from a small town in Southern Illinois.  I believe this background has made me thirst for new and diverse experiences while instilling an attitude of hard work within me.  These two attributes combined led me to the University of Illinois to obtain a double major in business and eventually a position in LinkedIn’s Business Leadership Program in San Francisco.  I love to run, read, drink coffee, and bake.  I also am very involved in my church community in San Francisco.

What is MakerGirl and how are you involved?

MakerGirl is a non-profit social startup that inspires 7-10 year old girls to pursue STEM fields through a variety of 3D printing sessions with fun themes like fashion, sports, etc.  Overall, it teaches girls that they can combine any passion that they have with STEM and inspires girls to be Change Makers!

What is your biggest goal for the project?

Originally, it was to take the project mobile across the country, and thankfully, that will now happen due to the countless hours put in by my amazing team and all of the generous donors. I’ve always thought it would be cool for MakerGirl to have brick and mortar locations around the globe as a space for girls to learn and create; however, I think the most impactful part of the process will be seeing these MakerGirls as well as my team grow up and solve the world’s biggest problems.

What do you think the girls enjoy most about your workshops?

The girls love to watch their designs come to life on a 3D printer.  It’s so awesome to watch their eyes light up when they take them off of the printer and leave with it in the palm of their hands.

Why do you think it is so important for girls to participate in these kinds of activities at a young age?

It is important for all genders to explore several opportunities while they are young to learn and grow in every way that they possibly can.  I think it is critical for kids to be instilled with a mindset in which they feel empowered to tackle any problems they see in their community.

What do you love most about doing work in STEM?

I am a very literal person so I love that STEM can lead to a very tangible way to change the world.  I love that learners can easily see the fruits of their labor with STEM, not to say this does not happen with non-STEM fields.  Specifically, STEM enables people to build solutions to any problem. 

Are there any issues you hope to see resolved for women in the STEM fields?

I hope the coined term “Women in STEM” eventually is not even a term out of the norm. By this, I mean that I believe the problem will eventually be solved and we won’t even need to focus on this being an issue.

Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know?

MakerGirl is a non-profit that came about as a logic model on a piece of paper.  This entire experience has proven to me that one can shape the world (or even their corner) through passion and hard work and meet amazing friends and mentors while doing so.

If you are interested in helping MakerGirl continue to provide incredible opportunities to young girls, check out their website and please consider becoming a patron by contributing to their Patreon campaign!