William Blair Hosts Students to Encourage STEM Careers

Friday, February 21, 2020

Elementary school girls visting William Blair

MakerGirl Executive Director Mary Hadley taught Chicago school girls how to create and print 3D objects at a recent William Blair event.

William Blair hosted a group of Chicago elementary school girls on February 13 for an interactive learning session about 3D printing run by nonprofit MakerGirl, which inspires study in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

The firm's Women in Technology and Women's Alliance groups co-sponsored the event at global headquarters. William Blair volunteers paired up with 25 girls, ages 7 to 11, to create three-dimensional objects out of plastic using Tinkercad, an online CAD design modeling program, and high-tech printers.   

"MakerGirl's hands-on approach to teaching girls technology breaks down the barriers and gender bias that come with words like engineering and code that sound intimidating," said Jill Krivacek, a member of William Blair's IT team.

"They really made it fun," she added. "The girls were in control and built something they wanted and took home."

MakerGirl was founded by Lizzy Engele and Julia Haried in 2014 while they attended the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. They seek to inspire their female peers to pursue STEM careers. Since then, the group has instructed more than 3,800 girls in 22 states across the U.S.

William Blair's Women in Technology program was established to bring awareness to the vital role women now play in technology and to encourage more women to work in IT.

The Women's Alliance aims to create a collaborative environment for sharing ideas, professional development, and awareness of the importance of gender diversity across the firm and in the broader community.

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