Making a difference at Maker Girl

Making a difference at Maker Girl
Addie Latimer uses tongs to get a glue bottle out in the Maker Girl Mania Millie operation activity. Photo by Wendi Reardon
Addie Latimer uses tongs to get a glue bottle out in the Maker Girl Mania Millie operation activity. Photo by Wendi Reardon

BY WENDI REARDON
Clarkston News Staff Writer
Hundreds of girls throughout the community experienced the wonder of engineering, math and science at the second annual Maker Girl Mania at Clarkston High School last Saturday.
“It’s crazy,” smiled Abigail Nofar, Women in Engineering President at the high school as she watched girls busy in the cafeteria creating and learning new skills.
“Even though I am in the club you don’t think there are too many girls who like science and engineering,” she added. “It is so exciting to me to see all these girls come out and enjoy everything we are showing them. A lot of the girls even have background information. It is cool they are finding the information for themselves.”
Maker Girl Millie, also known as Elise Kalinowski, added it was really exciting when she would visit the girls and each one was excited about what they were doing.
“Especially when you talk to them and you get them more interested,” she smiled. “They think it is more cool. It’s a good day.”
Nofar’s favorite booth was the Great Maker Race which was also a favorite amongst the 520 girls in Kindergarten through seven grade. Participants created the car starting with a block, cutting it out, adding tires and decorating before racing it down the hilly track.
Girls also visited 30 booths including Camp Invention, Clarkston Independence District Library, FTC (FIRST Tech Challenge), Brick It Up, Oakland Schools, Foundry in a Box and Oakland University of Women Engineers. At each booth they were able to try something different – build a toothbrush battlebot, drive a robots, create a duct tape hairbow, make a LED bookmark, cast a metal piece and so much more.
“The girls are excited to be here and explore,” said Laura Kalinowski, teacher. “They jump right into the tables and start working with what’s there.”
Laura Banaszak, teacher, added they had three sessions this year and made them longer especially after having 520 girls sign up in a matter of a few days.
“It was such a great event last year the word of mouth spread,” she added.
“We had more people like our social media sites. It helps and we kept updating it through the year. Unfortunately, we had to turn people down.”
Kalinowski and Banaszak added they are thankful to the community and the volunteers who are teachers, students, alumni and community members.
“It’s so nice we have so many people who want to give and help the next generation of engineers,” said Kalinowski.
Maker Girl Mania also gave back. The girls were able to make a care package and write a letter to send to a soldier. Participants also brought in canned food items to donate to Lighthouse.
Visit Maker Girl Mania on Facebook.