The upcoming edition of “Meet the Stars of 3D Printing” will explore how students and young professionals interested in additive manufacturing (AM) can build a successful career in the automotive industry. The two-hour event, hosted by Women in 3D Printing (Wi3DP)’s youth initiative subsidiary Next Gen, is being held virtually on April 20, 2021. It will spotlight female role models in AM from General Motors, Ford, Divergent, Stratasys, and special reality TV host guests from Girl Gang Garage, a renowned auto shop in Phoenix operated by women for women.
During the first virtual event held in January 2021, approximately 470 students and educators registered. The panel was spearheaded by professional women from some of the world’s biggest game-changing businesses, LEGO, Tapestry (parent company of Coach and Kate Spade), SpaceX, New Balance, and Facebook. Attendee engagement demonstrated a significant interest in 3D printing content targeted towards the student community.
The fresh, appealing, and on-brand conference themes and panelists of the novel “Meet the Stars of 3D Printing” event series are great ways to engage students. Wi3DP does an exceptional job of introducing experts working with AM technologies in a wide range of verticals and brands that an emerging young workforce will recognize. As a nonprofit organization, Wi3DP keeps up with its goal of empowering female leaders, highlighting career opportunities in the 3D printing industry, and bridging the gap between academia and industry through its supportive professional network. Increasing the visibility of female leaders in the AM industry through events, panels, and support, the leaders at Wi3DP are encouraging more newcomers to use 3D printing technologies.
Like most technology-centered industries, AM still remains a field dominated by men. Wi3DP reports that women account for only 13% of the workforce in the 3D printing industry, and just 11% of the companies are owned by women. Although the data might still be discouraging, Wi3DP Founder Nora Touré is not. Wi3DP keeps adding new content, interviews, and events. Female leaders and industry experts are becoming a solid network to support and involve women interested in 3D printing.
Moderated by Wi3DP leader Maddie Frank, the automotive edition will feature panelists Malini Dusey, a polymer expert at General Motors; Ford Performance Engineer Kadie Hartman; Applications Engineer at Stratasys Allyson Abel; and Taylor Doty, Senior AM Production Manager at Divergent. The leading experts will discuss their journey enabling 3D printing for different use cases in prototyping, tooling, and production. They will also be joined by master mechanic Bogi Lateiner and brand strategist Shawnda Williams, Co-founders of Girls Gang Garage and hosts of All Girls Garage, a popular how-to automotive show on MotorTrend.
Lateiner and Williams will share their perspectives around the potential of 3D printing in car restoration and refurbishment and how to disrupt the industry through creative initiatives and better user experiences. The garage founders believe the opportunities that 3D printing affords vehicle customization are unbelievable. Known to elevate, encourage, and champion women’s entry and advancement within the automotive and skilled trade industries, Girl Gang Garage has tackled several incredible car restorations and all-female builds. During the 2017 SEMA show, they debuted a 1957 Chevy Pickup truck built by women from across the world of all skill levels. The successful build led to other highly publicized vehicles, like the team’s second Chevy Truck, dubbed “High Yellow 56” by Shawnda Williams and unveiled at Blueprint engines SEMA 2019 booth, or a 1961 Volvo PV544 family sports car.
Wi3DP’s virtual event will offer attendees the opportunity to learn from and connect with the professionals in real-time. Following a panel discussion, the Remo platform allows for live conversation and networking to directly speak with the current and next generation of women in automotive 3D printing. For Stratasys’ Allison Abel, this will be a great opportunity to “compile experiences and ideas” with like-minded women in the industry. She also highlighted how intertwined 3D printing and automotive have become throughout recent years, with a lot more to explore in future applications.
According to Touré, this kind of events seek to ensure that girls and boys have access to the same type of learning, content, and opportunities so that the next generations can “make the right choices.” She stressed the importance of empowering girls and women early on to generate a network of future team members and collaborations. Similarly, Frank is hoping the newest edition of “Meet the Stars of 3D Printing” will help young women in the 3D printing workforce understand the applications, opportunities, and challenges awaiting them should they decide to step in that direction.
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