RES.2-005 | Spring 2015 | High School

Girls Who Build: Make Your Own Wearables Workshop

Instructor Insights

Inspiration for the Workshop

In this section, Kristen Railey shares how her experiences as an undergraduate student at MIT inspired her to develop the _Make Your Own Wearables workshop. She also discusses her decision to introduce girls to engineering through wearable technologies._

The Make Your Own Wearables Workshop grew out of my personal experience as an engineering student at MIT. I didn’t enter MIT with a background in building or programming. The skills around which I built the workshop (computer programming, computer-aided design, and using machine shop tools) were the skills that I lacked when I enrolled at MIT as an undergraduate student. I created the workshop because I want to make sure girls are exposed to engineering before they go to college.

I also created the workshop to show girls that not all engineers resemble the stereotypical car mechanic or characters on the television show, The Big Bang Theory. I want girls to picture themselves as engineers. This is important because, although women comprise half of the population, they are underrepresented in the field of engineering.

People have different approaches for encouraging girls and women to explore engineering. I think using wearable technology to engage girls in engineering can be productive for those girls who are interested in fashion and creative thinking because they can wear what they code.

Some people have said that using wearable technology to engage girls in engineering reinforces gender stereotypes, but I think it speaks to a sub-population of girls that might not otherwise realize their potential as engineers. Personally, as an artist, and I know there are many girls interested in combining art and building. This workshop offers this sub-population of girls an opportunity to explore how their interests and the field of engineering intersect.

Learn more about Kristen Railey and her inspiration for the Make Your Own Wearables Workshop
MIT Lincoln Laboratory hosts first ‘Make Your Own Wearables’ workshop for high-school girls.”

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