Elizabeth C. Engele (Lizzy) is a designer for social good. She is currently getting her Master’s in Design at IIT’s Institute of Design after spending four years working for LinkedIn in sales, recruiting, and operations. She grew up on a farm in Southern Illinois which is why she’s passionate about bringing MakerGirl to rural and under-served communities. She serves in the children’s ministry at Park Community Church and in her free time, enjoys traveling, competing in triathlons, an baking.

Lizzy, could you let us know about your background and your journey to Additive Manufacturing?

My co-founder Julia Haried and I are both graduates from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Gies College of Business. When creating a nonprofit to get girls interested in STEM, we found that girls don’t pursue STEM because they don’t think it’s creative nor do they think they can make an impact.  At the time, 3D printing was a new technology, and it demonstrates the power of creativity, craft, and components of STEM in a short amount of time.

    What is MakerGirl and what is the story behind it? 

MakerGirl is a nonprofit that educates girls in STEM through 3D printing sessions led by university women and men in STEM.  We’ve educated nearly 4,000 girls to date in 22 states through our university locations called academies and #MakerGirlGoesMobile, a 3D printing truck that takes our sessions to girls in rural and under-served locations.  

To date, what would you say is your greatest achievement in Additive Manufacturing? 

Showing nearly 4,000 girls that additive manufacturing is a digestible application for them.  Going to an AM conference with Ultimaker, one of our sponsors, in Amsterdam was also fun and insightful to witness all the different types and uses of 3D printing. Outside of AM, my co-founder and I were recently honored in Forbes 30 under 30 for our work and our Executive Director pitched MakerGirl in front of a global audience in Berlin at a 30 under 30 conference! 

Do you have any (fun or not) story about the company or your career to share with us? 

We’ve been fortunate to witness girls step into their identity as MakerGirls throughout this journey. For example, Addy, one of our MakerGirls who attended our very first session said to her Dad one day as he was dropping her off from school, “Dad, I’m not your baby girl! I’m a MakerGirl!.” Addy, now a few years older in grade school, has built a computer from a starter kit, and even brought MakerGirl session to Portland because she has loved and learned from our sessions. 

What makes the 3D printing industry particularly interesting for you? 

From a designer’s lens (which is what I’m getting my Master’s degree in), it allows for quick understanding of whether an object is harmonious in its whole and individual elements in a way that other prototyping methods cannot afford. 

What is the most impressive or impactful use of 3D printing you’ve seen so far? 

Of course I am biased, but I think 3D printing in the classroom is one of the most impactful uses because it allows students to learn the process of building and tinkering with their hands which is so much more impactful than learning from a textbook. Also, the process of going from nothing to a CAD model to having an item in the palm of one’s hands teaches patience and resilience, which again, contains so many more life lessons than simply learning about a finished product. 

What do you consider game-changing technologies in Additive Manufacturing?

From a designer’s lens (which is what I’m getting my Master’s degree in), it allows for quick understanding of whether an object is harmonious in its whole and individual elements in a way that other prototyping methods cannot afford. 

Where do you think the industry will move to in the next 10 years?

It is imperative that children learn the importance of failure and prototyping at an early age. AM will become a necessary component of grade school curriculum in the next 10 years, if not sooner.

What advice do you have for women looking to get started in 3D Printing?

Don’t be afraid to fail!  CAD and 3D printing are complicated. Printers break down. Enjoy the process, and track your victories, however small you might think they are! 

In your opinion, how could we encourage more women to become involved with Additive Manufacturing? 

Showing its application to our everyday lives since women drive a majority of purchasing decisions. Everything from our winter coats to the soap dispenser have ties back to AM.

Anything exciting coming up you’d like us to know about?

We will be on the road this Summer for our 4th #MakerGirlGoesMobile tour and plan on educating nearly 1,000 more girls in 2020 at our various university academies and the road trip.  To help us accomplish our mission, please share our story and contact me (elizabeth@makergirl.us) if you’d like to bring MakerGirl to your community or workplace! 


   Favorite 3D tool?

Tinkercad 🙂

    Favorite moment in your day job?

Seeing a MakerGirl’s eyes light up as her print starts coming to life! 

    What’s on your 3D Printing wishlist for the next 5 years?

3D printed ice cream cones

    Another inspiring woman you’d like us to interview?

Paula Rosine Long

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Nora is a 3D Printing expert since 2010, particularly skilled at building strategic alliances and strong business relationships.
Named among the 20 most influential women in Additive Manufacturing every year since 2015, Nora also received the Certificate of Honor in Manufacturing by the City of San Francisco in 2017 for her work with Women in 3D Printing, and was awarded Community Advocate of the year 2018 by her peers.

She started her career in Additive Manufacturing in 2010 by joining 3D Printing service leader, Sculpteo.

Nora joined Ivaldi Group in 2018. Ivaldi Group leverages cutting-edge additive manufacturing solutions to provide on-site parts on demand services for various industries. Drawing on a breadth of additive manufacturing industry experience, Ivaldi Group works across a range of stakeholders to digitize product portfolios and improve cost, risk and delivery for all parties, providing a Part Replacement as a Service solution.
As the VP of Strategy, Nora works closely with the CEO to build and implement the company's strategies in various segments: from core business value to customer relationship and parts production and delivery.

Nora founded Women in 3D Printing in 2014 to promote women leaders in the Additive Manufacturing industry. She also co-initiated and co-organizes #3DTalk, an industry-specific and educational event series featuring women in the 3D Printing and related industries. #3DTalks are global events hosted in various cities across the USA and Europe.

Pursuing her vision for more social inclusion, she joined 3D Africa as Board Advisor. 3D Africa is a youth and women economic empowerment program developed by the Youth for Technology Foundation (YTF), a nonprofit organization with years of experience combining education, technology, and economic development to transform economically challenged populations into self-sustainable communities. 3D Africa is part of the YTF’s Clinton Global Initiative 2016 Commitment to Action.

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