Introducing STEM (and fun) through 3D printing

MakerGirl Goes On Tour, Inspires Thousands

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This summer, the non-profit organization, MakerGirl, traveled around America to bring 3D printing workshops to over 1,000 young girls.

The trip covered over 10,000 miles and aimed to expose girls to STEM subjects through the art of 3D printing. It began with just four students at the University of Illinois who were asked to solve a social issue they saw in the world.

Their idea was to inspire young girls with MakerGirl sessions to help create a new generation of confident, creative women. Since then, MakerGirl has continued to expand and inspire even more girls.

The idea of a MakerGirl road trip arose from this question of how to bring the power of 3D printing to more girls. A road trip was the perfect solution.

Check out the video MakerGirl put together of all the workshop stops from this summer. 64 days, 10,000 miles, 61 sessions, and 1,000 girls.

How did MakerGirl get on the road?

This summer MakerGirl hosted 61 sessions across over 10,000 miles for 1,000 girls. They followed a route that took them to New Hampshire, Texas, California, Wisconsin, and lots of places in between.

To fund this cross-country trip, MakerGirl successfully completed a Kickstarter campaign. They raised $32,000 in personal donations and $13,000 in corporate sponsorships. Ultimaker also helped the cause by donating 15 3D printers.

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MakerGirl Mobile allows MakerGirl to bring 3D printing to areas where girls may not typically have access to technology. Equipped with 3D printers, laptops, and creative session materials, they were ready to go.

At many MakerGirl Mobile sessions, the girls attending had never seen a 3D printer. At even more sessions, the girls attending never imagined that 3D printing could be a fun way to combine STEM subjects to create an artistic design. The girls leaving the sessions came away with a 3D print and an understanding of how 3D technologies work.

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Kendall Furbee is a sophomore studying Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Illinois, as well as the Internal Marketing Manager for MakerGirl. She said in an Ultimaker blog post: “Once the girls see their prints come to life the energy in the room is unlike anything else. They are bubbly and inquisitive, asking one another what they designed and listing all of the unique things they would choose to make if they had the chance to use a 3D printer again.”

The theme of most of the sessions was Dreams and Goals. Girls were encouraged to design and 3D print an object which reminds them of their goal. Whether this goal is big or small is up to them. Their finished print helps remind them of the goals they would like to accomplish.

“In the future, our hope is that seeing this small 3D printed object will rekindle memories of the steps they had to take to make that object.” Furbee continued, “Seeing their personalized object every day will encourage them to take the steps necessary to accomplish their goals.”

You can see many of the designs that participants created at workshops in the MakerGirl Goes Mobile collection on YouMagine. Let us know what you think of this inspiring road trip in the comments.

(Source: Ultimaker Blog)

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