Lending a Hand and Making a Difference

August 9, 2017, by Nora Richter, 0 Comments

Research shows that girls as young as 6 have gendered ideas about intelligence, and who is best suited to careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math).

TechGyrls is a program that gives girls ages 9 to 13 the opportunity to explore, create, design, and share in all things STEM.  Funded by the Canadian Women’s Foundation’s Girls’ Fund, this YWCA Cambridge program is empowering girls to engage in STEM when society tells them they can’t.

The program doesn’t have a curriculum. Instead it’s led by the girls’ interests and ideas, making each program as unique as the girls who participate. Naturally, when the program received funding to purchase a 3D printer, the TechGyrls were excited to learn how to use it.

After spending some time learning about how the printer worked and designing their own products to print, one TechGyrls group at a Cambridge Public School decided they could to do more. They looked to eNABLING the future, an online community that openly shares the files and instructions needed to print and produce prosthetic hands.

The girls decided they wanted to print and assemble a child-sized prosthetic and got to work. They sourced the files from the website, printed all of the necessary parts, and watched a video series that guided them through the assembly process. The finished product was mailed to eNABLE which matched the prosthetic with a child needing a device in that size.

The goal of TechGyrls is to create a space where girls feel safe to step out of their comfort zones, to try new things, to learn from mistakes, and to have fun with STEM. TechGyrls is an example of just how diverse girls’ interests in STEM are, and how they are not getting what they need out of STEM in schools.  

Building a prosthetic helped our girls to develop new skills and build confidence in their own abilities, while giving back and helping a greater cause.

Check out their handiwork below!


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