Tech, Now + Beyond

This 3D printing academy paves the way for girls in engineering

With a focus on jewelry-making, KiraKira's courses are aimed directly at young girls with no interest in engineering.

An online jewelry shop is paving the way for an upcoming engineering course geared at girls, thanks to the duo behind KiraKira.

When 21 percent of girls say their parents encourage them to become actresses and only 10 percent say their parents encouraged them to think about engineering careers, these types of initiatives are incredibly important.

With a focus on jewelry-making, KiraKira’s courses are aimed directly at young girls who have little to no interest in engineering.

All of fashion entrepreneur and industrial designer Suz Somersall’s jewelry designs are created through software used by aerospace engineers and architects.

Now, she’s partnering with the University of Virginia’s aerospace and mechanical engineering department to offer friendly online mechanical engineering classes to young girls.

Just this week, her Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign successfully raised $31,013 to produce their first 100 lessons.

She plans on “creating a curriculum to teach transferable skills, commands and concepts through KiraKira’s unique approach.”

There is already a jewelry lesson up on the website, where you can learn how to create an “Easy Heart Slider” necklace for beginners. It costs $19 for a 30-minute lesson.

Two years ago, her and Malena Southworth began working together to build a well developed, interactive engineering curriculum for young girls interested in the engineering and technology industries.

Somersall and Southworth intend to open popup schools across the nation, with locations in San Francisco, New York City, and Virginia. Here, they will form lessons and teach girls how to design and create their own 3D jewelry.

Through KiraKira, Southworth hopes to “help break stereotypes and stigmas and inspire girls to achieve their dreams.”

With her already successful jewelry business, Somersall wanted to expand her efforts and develop a curriculum for young girls interested in engineering to benefit from. The KiraKira website also sells its own jewelry, which are all 3D printed and you can essentially learn how to do with their online classes.

Her jewelry pieces are elegant and classy, with rings, earrings, bracelets, and necklaces ranging from $28-$98.