Ready to Pair: Eureka! Youth Build 3D Printed Bluetooth Speakers
This month, Girls Inc. Eureka! youth had the opportunity to participate in a two-day 3D printing workshop at Dunwoody College to further their learning in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and nontraditional careers. At the end of the workshop, each participant walked away with a completed Bluetooth speaker designed and assembled by them.
Learning CAD Software and the Basics of 3D Printing
On the first day of the workshop, youth spent their time learning computer-aided design (CAD) software as well as learning about the practical applications of 3D printing. To start, they walked through the steps of making a keychain. Then the youth used a free website called tinkercad.com to design their Bluetooth speaker covers. Looking at the many options tinkercad.com had to offer, they chose their designs. One girl explored even further and found the user-submitted section that had the logo from Hamilton, her favorite musical. As youth finished their designs they checked back at the 3D printers that were printing the keychains they had worked on earlier. One of the youth looked at the 3D printer and said, “This is so cool! It’s so relaxing to watch it print out.”
“I am having so much fun and learning so much”
On the second day of the workshop, the youth saw the results of their designs from the day before. They received a tutorial on how to solder and after some practice, they began to assemble the internal parts of their Bluetooth speakers. While soldering, a Girls Inc. Eureka! youth shared with staff, “I wasn’t excited to come to this workshop at all, and didn’t want to do it. But I am having so much fun and learning so much.”
When their Bluetooth devices turned on for the first time and said “ready to pair” all the girls’ eyes lit up and some were even surprised their speaker worked!
Overcoming Gender Stereotypes that Limit Careers
Along with learning about 3D printing, the youth toured Dunwoody College to hear what sort of educational programs Dunwoody offered and the careers this education could lead to. They also learned about implicit gender bias and researched women professionals in STEM fields.
Dunwoody College developed this hands-on outreach project to overcome gender stereotypes that can limit the pathways for girls and women in STEM. The technical curriculum for this project was developed by Jazmine Darden, a Dunwoody alumna and instructor of 3D printing at Dunwoody College.
This project was made possible through the support of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) and in partnership with Gender Justice, a nonprofit legal & policy advocacy organization devoted to addressing the causes and consequences of gender inequality.
Photos courtesy of Kathy M Helgeson, Dunwoody College of Technology