3D Academy for Women

Kirakira Want to Inspire Girls to Learn Engineering


A Kickstarter campaign is aiming to break the stereotype that links masculinity to technology. It helps to bridge the gap between the amount of men and women that are working in engineering.

The 3D printing Kickstarter campaign, which launched yesterday, hopes to teach girls the fundamentals of mechanical engineering software & 3D modeling through interactive jewelry design lessons.

Suz Somersall, Co-Founder and CEO of Kirakira (image: Kirakira)
Suz Somersall, Co-Founder and CEO of Kirakira (image: Kirakira)

Kirakira is a company run by UX designer Malena Southworth and Suz Somersall, an industrial designer who studied visual art and architecture at Brown and 3D printing and manufacturing at RISD.

Somersall wrote: “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 jewelry design.”

They are hoping to raise $30,000 by December 2nd. So far, they received over $3,800 from their campaign on day one.

This money will be used to create 100 new classes to teach the girls. To do this, they have to pay local female mechanical engineering undergrad and grad mentors to create the curriculum as well as female high school students who practice and film each class with guidance from mentors.

The funds will also be used to help build an online academy and e-commerce shop that sells the students designs.

There is already an online foundation with free classes, but the website needs to be developed further to allow for girls to create user accounts, submit their designs, troubleshoot with engineers and order their creations directly from our site.

How Does KIRAKIRA Work?


Students are encouraged to download the free software to begin taking trial lessons and learning AutoDesk, Rhino, and Solidworks. Girls can use aCADemy (CAD – Computer Aided Design), learn fundamentals & commands of various mechanical engineering programs through affordable beginner, intermediate, and advanced classes offered online.

Once they have completed a class, they can submit a .stl file online which Suz Somersall’s team will troubleshoot to make sure it’s printable. The design is then available to be printed in gold, silver or bronze.

The aim is to use the Kirakira store to curate all the designs submitted. These designs will be sold and every time a piece sells, the student will earn points and funds that will be contributed to your school’s STEM program or their college tuition savings.

The girls are encouraged to use this knowledge as a foundation for creating whatever they can imagine, not just jewelry!

Do you think this Kickstarter is a worthwhile idea? How would you inspire more girls to learn engineering?