Karina Popovich

Founder of Makers for COVID-19

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Try new things, make sure you let yourself explore your interests without boxing yourself in.

What do you do?

I 3D-print face shields and other PPE for medical workers fighting on the frontlines of COVID-19. Part of my job is leading a team of 22 students and 330 Makers in making sure that we are reaching out to high COVID case areas, recruiting more Makers, creating resources for our Makers, and getting the funding we need to continue supporting medical facilities that have the least access to the much-needed PPE.

Why did you choose this field?

I was always fond with 3D-printing and pictured a world in which everyone had a 3D-printer and treated it like a regular paper printer. When I went to high school and took a class in 3D-modeling, I 3D-printed for my very first time. I fell in love with the ability of being able to create something out of nothing, it felt like a superpower. Later, I realized that 3D-printers beautifully represented the engineering field because anyone could create something out of nothing.

What do you look at and think, "I wish younger me would have known this was possible"?

Being only 19 year old woman in STEM, while successfully leading a group mostly men to 3D-print face shields. I never thought this would be my reality, that I being so young and a women would be taken seriously by men in STEM. Throughout this journey I learned so much about being a leader and about myself. Getting to create and lead Makers for COVID-19 has been my greatest accomplishment. Getting to learn from it was my biggest gift.

Why do you love working in STEM?

I love going to bed thinking: what am I going to build next? And waking up to think, what am I going to print today or what am I going to laser cut today? I love the ability to create things and see the final product.

Best advice for next generation?

Try new things, make sure you let yourself explore your interests without boxing yourself in. And from every different or new experience try to take away as many lessons as possible. Keep learning and growing by making it a point in all of the things you do.

Inspo quote / fun fact / role model

“Mama, I am a rich man.”

NOMINATE a woman in STEM

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