Pree Walia, CEO and co-founder of tech company Preemadonna, took some time out of her busy schedule to meet with DMA’s Made By Girls students at Stanford University last week.

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Preemadonna focuses on technology relevant to the lifestyles of girls and women. The company designed the Nailbot to incorporate art and tech!

Much like our Made By Girls initiative, Preemadonna is also a virtual community of likeminded women that focuses on technology relevant to the lifestyles of girls and women. Walia, a passionate advocate for girls in STEM, shared her story – from building the Nailbot to successfully pitching the product at Tech Crunch Disrupt in San Francisco last summer.

She and the Preemadonna team know that being smart and feeling beautiful are not mutually exclusive, so they created the Nailbot – a robot that uses a smartphone to print art directly onto users’ fingernails!

The Preemadonna team brought prototypes, delivered a PowerPoint presentation tutorial and offered a sneak peek of the DIY Printer Kit to our students enrolled in the Made By Girls App Development for iPhone & iPad and wearable tech & fashion design courses.

“The first prototype is never the end-all-be-all.”

“Our first prototype was kind of a disaster. Your first version is not necessarily something you want to show people,” Walia told the students.

Using Arduino software inside the housing of an old inkjet printer that was hacked by her team, the first Nailbot prototype was built.

The images were blurry, didn’t always take and weren’t always on target. But ultimately, the team was able to manifest something that had previously only been an idea.

“We had to keep evolving. The first prototype is never the end-all-be-all.”

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“Sometimes what you think is going to be your product may be your future product,” Walia said, showing early concept designs of the Nailbot at our Stanford University location.

“Always test your products.”

Without a final product or capital to hire a test group, Walia and her team turned to grassroots methods of product-testing. “We hosted Nail Parties,” she said, reaching out to friends and other coworkers who had daughters.

“We had our conceptions of what was going right or wrong, but we needed to see girls using it in action.”

The prototypes were missing the target, not going fast enough, and were a little challenging on some of the girls’ nails. The team knew they had to keep working.

“You should always test your products. Test them early, test them often and test them with potential customers.”

MBGPree730 Walia spoke to a room full of Made By Girls programmers about the prototyping process.

“Time your market.”

Walia and co-founder Casey Schulz were accepted into an accelerator program, Hax, and moved to the hardware capital of the world: Shenzhen, China.

Neither Walia nor Schulz had ever lived in China, or Asia for that matter. Neither spoke Mandarin. But they lived there for six months crafting the next version of the Nailbot. “It was kind of an adventure!” Walia said.

Working with potential customers as well as industrial designers and engineers, they received a lot of feedback, which got their prototypes into much better shape.

“It’s important to time your market. Any time you show the world what you have, someone can copy you and get it to market quickly.”

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The Preemadonna Nailbot utilizes a smartphone app, with a new design feature coming soon!

“No product comes together overnight.”

Walia stressed that “no product comes together overnight. We’ve gone through so many iterations and we’ll continue to iterate. This company and this product have been so near and dear to my heart, and that’s why I’ve been working on it for so long,” she said.

“Sometimes what you think is going to be your product may be your future product, and you just don’t know until you show it to the marketplace.”

Because of that, “we didn’t just build one device, we built a whole family of products,” she said.

“If you think about what facial recognition technology is today, like Snapchat filters, they do a very good job of mapping your face. But nails, they don’t work in quite the same way. There isn’t a huge data set, and that’s where all of you come in,” she told the students.

“We are going to create the largest data set of fingernails that’s ever existed. Every single person who who uses our app, is going to make each device we have better,” she said.

“We’ll know exactly the edges, the curvature, the skin from the cuticle from the nail. At the end of the day, we’re creating a mobile art marketplace.”

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Prototype in hand, Pree addressed questions students had about her time at Tech Crunch.

“Know your numbers.”

“Know your numbers. There are 21 million girls between the ages of 8-18 in the United States. Ninety-two percent of girls in that age range decorate their nails regularly, and 14 percent decorate their nails at least once a day. It’s the most popular form of cosmetic.”

And because of fantastic publicity, Preemadonna spends no money on their marketing, and yet they still have 22,000 people on our wait list.

“Our cartridge will last for 5,000 manicures. You’re not going to run out of ink any time soon, because it’s a very small amount of ink that’s being put on your fingernail.”


Walia presented the Preemadonna Nailbot at TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco last year! (See the full presentation above.)

Proud Partnership With Preemadonna

Made By Girls is proud to partner with Preemadonna. Its vision and message aligns with ours, as our camps are designed to give girls a supportive community to learn computer science and other tech-related subjects, with female role models and instructors.

One such role model this year is Made By Girls Teaching Assistant (and returning staff alum) Kyra Wayne. As a Design Engineering Intern at Preemadonna, Wayne helped connect Walia with DMA’s Made By Girls.

We’re also happy to work with Preemadonna because of its incredible multifaceted Ambassadors Program. The program allows young students to tap into the entrepreneurial spirit Walia has nurtured in creating her company, even after the summer is over, with Wayne leading the Artist Ambassadors.

And Walia isn’t just stopping at Stanford. She’ll be visiting our Made By Girls Students later this season at our Northwestern University location. This event will be hosted at The Garage, a cross-disciplinary entrepreneurship space for Northwestern students to experiment, collaborate and launch their ideas.

Additionally, Walia will hold a private session with our students after the event all about pitching their ideas as innovative products.

That’s right, our Made By Girls students will have the opportunity to bounce their ideas off of the female CEO of a tech company that specializes in building inventions and empowering young women. How incredibly cool is that?!

LET THE DMA CAMP SEASON BEGIN!

This is a huge week for us here at Digital Media Academy. It’s the time we most look forward to all year long. This is the first week of a new DMA camp season!

2016 is going to be our best season yet, and it all starts this week at five of our amazing locations:

Stanford University | Stanford, California
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Where it all began! Stanford is our flagship location and where we started developing our acclaimed tech camp program in 2002. Open thru August 19th. (Photo: Stanford University, Visitor Information)

UC Irvine | Irvine, California
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From animation to robotics and everything in between, there is so much going on at one of our busiest Southern California locations. Open thru July 15th. (Photo: UCI Office of Admissions)

St. Mary’s College | Moraga, California
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Tech camp in the rolling hills just East of the Bay Area? Yes, please! One of DMA’s newest locations in Silicon Valley’s backyard. Open thru July 15th. (Photo: St. Mary’s College of California)

Rice University | Houston, Texas
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One of the most distinguished colleges in the nation and just one of our great Lone Star locations. Open thru July 1st. (Photo: Rice University, ISAR)

Bryn Mawr College | Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania
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The pastoral, regal Bryn Mawr campus is one or our finest locations, and it’s just down the road from fun Philadelphia! Open thru July 8th. (Photo: Bryn Mawr College, Greenfield Blog)

These great camps have been “open for business” ever since yesterday’s check-in, when overnight campers got their room assignments and met their roommates!

We can’t wait to see everyone’s amazing creations!. And next week, three more incredible DMA campus locations open for the summer: UCLA, UC San Diego and Stony Brook University of Long Island, N.Y.!

SUPER-COOL EXTRAS FOR 2016!

There are so many amazing new things happening at DMA this summer!

Hot new courses, from technology’s cutting edge.
Classes like our wearable tech and fashion design course, which teaches girl techies how to use advanced 3D modeling software to design clothing that not only looks sharp, but also carries out tech functions like lighting up and powering up electronic devices.

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Our wearable tech students will also be putting what they learn into action, by participating in a super-cool contest involving the official Role Model of DMA’s Made By Girls initiative: leading bass player Divinity Roxx, who’s famous not only for her own exciting new music but also for her years directing Beyonce’s all-girl band.

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When bassist Divinity Roxx tours Europe, she’ll be sporting wearable tech designed by DMA students! (Photo: ©Ralf Dombrowski. All rights reserved.)

In our Design for a Rock Star Contest, students will submit designs for wearable tech clothes and accessories that Divinity will actually wear on stage during her upcoming European tour. It’s a rare chance for girls to collaborate with a touring musician and help design her wardrobe!

Get Social with DMA
And that’s not our only contest! This DMA camp season will see cool new social media contests, like our “Cap the Snap” challenge on Snapchat! Follow the DMA story to see what life is like at camp! Our campers will have a chance to compete with other course categories for a delicious surprise each Wednesday. Be sure to follow us on Snapchat at DMA_org to see all the fun!

It’s going to be our most fun summer ever at DMA!

…AND MORE TO COME!

The DMA summer just keeps getting better and better. During Week 3, five more fantastic DMA campus locations open, representing the Northwest, the Midwest, the Northeast and “The Great White North”: Northwestern University, NYU, University of British Columbia, University of Toronto and the University of Washington, Seattle.

It’s not too late to sign up for this summer. Limited classroom space still exists in many of our locations. Sign up today and save by visiting our promotions page!

Join us this summer at DMA and #CreateTheNext!

A few months ago, Digital Media Academy was proud to announce a partnership with recording artist Divinity Roxx. Now the internationally renowned bassist is taking the relationship a step further and becoming both a client and collaborator for our students in our Design for a Rock Star Contest!

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Divinity’s album, ImPossible, features her latest single and Made By Girls anthem “We Are.”

As the official Role Model and spokeswoman for DMA’s Made By Girls initiative, Roxx is most recognized for her time spent as Music Director and bassist for Beyoncé Knowles’ all-girl band. Her single “We Are” is even the Made By Girls program anthem.

In addition, Roxx will serve as a mentor for several of Digital Media Academy’s course offerings for the summer of 2016, including Wearable Technology & Fashion Design, Music & Beat Production, and Filmmaking.

Wearable Tech & Fashion Design Client

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Roxx loves futuristic wearable tech, and will adorn herself with designs from the Made By Girls Wearable Tech & Fashion course while on her next European tour!

For the Made By Girls’ Wearable Tech & Fashion Design course, Divinity will serve as an important first client, challenging students to design accessories for her to wear on her European tour this fall.

Girls will have the opportunity to design and program custom accessories that flash and light up using LilyPad Arduino, in addition to learning about circuitry, electrical engineering and programming.

They will also use modeling software used by real fashion designers from our official technology partner CLO Virtual Fashion to design and model their own creations in 3D. The CLO Atelier program is a virtual designer technology (used by real fashion designers) that lets artists design and model their own garment creations in 3D. Made By Girls students can output their designs into 2D patterns that can be produced as real clothes.

Wearable Tech & Fashion Design is offered at six DMA locations nationwide including Stanford, UCLA, the University of Pennsylvania, NYU and Harvard.

“We Are” Song and Video Remix Project

For DMA’s co-ed music and beat production and filmmaking courses, Divinity Roxx’s anthem “We Are” (and the song’s official music video) will serve as inspiration. She will challenge students to create remixes and original works of music and film in response to the song.

As a result, students will have the chance to receive credit from her as an “official collaborator” with promotion of their work on her website and on her tour. Students will even get a chance to have their song featured on Apple iTunes! Music & Beat Production and filmmaking courses are offered at 20 of our campuses in the U.S. and Canada.

Helping Women and Girls Embrace STEM

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Follow Divinity on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook for even more behind-the-scenes details!

Roxx is also passionate about encouraging women to explore their creativity through technology. For Roxx, understanding software and embracing technology have been important to her success in the recording studio.

Having had to teach herself many of the production software programs in order to take control of her artistic voice, she knows firsthand how intimidating it can be to learn new skills. Roxx encourages girls to push through their fear to realize their strength and potential. “Keep going. By opening yourself up to learning, you can unlock something you never knew you were capable of,” Roxx said in her exclusive DMA Interview.

“Lack of role models, negative stereotypes and isolation are significant barriers preventing girls from reaching their full potential,” explains Made By Girls Program Director Peggy Lee. “DMA believes that Divinity Roxx is one such role model whose story encourages girls to be brave, express their creativity and build the world they want to see.”

Digital Media Academy’s Made By Girls program goes beyond just teaching tech skills; it’s a community built to empower girls, giving them a safe learning environment to express their ideas and reach their full tech potential.

Our Made By Girls Scholarship contest wrapped up last month, when our five incredible recipients were finally announced. Each week we’ll feature one of our Made By Girls Scholars and tell you a little bit about each of these amazing girls, who can’t wait to dive headfirst into STEM. Last week, we introduced you to Kimora Oliver.

Next up: Ava Deakin of Chicago, Illinois!

Made By Girls Scholar Ava Deakin

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Ava Deakin is our latest Made By Girls Scholar. She loves technology, art, playing music on her guitar and flute, fashion, and participating in the Girl Scouts.

This summer, Ava will be attending our Adventures in Programming camp at the University of Chicago!

She believes that the Adventures in Programming camp will help build the foundation she needs in computer programing and languages to jumpstart her dream of working in biomechatronics – the mix of neuroscience and wearable technology.

A Personal Passion

Ava first became interested in biomechatronics when she saw the head of the MIT Media Lab, Professor Hugh Herr on Ted Talks. Herr is creating the robotic prosthetics that should help end many physical disabilities.

“It is amazing that MIT has brought people across medicine and computer programming to help lead the ‘bionic age’,” Ava says. “This sounds like a very weird passion for someone my age, but for me it is personal.”

Ava has a progressive neurological condition that affects her balance and leg strength. While she’s been able to retain her ability to walk with non-tech wearable devices, many of the kids in her therapy program have not. “Someday, I would like to design and program wearables that can improve their lives,” she says.

“I would like to dream of the world as it should be, and then be able to build it! I can imagine programming robotic boots that help people with cerebral palsy walk; shirts that monitor diabetics’ sugar and gives medicine through the skin; bracelets that can give adrenaline for severe allergy attacks; and even gloves with built-in games to stretch muscles and improve coordination.”

Wearable tech has the potential to be amazing in the future. It just needs the right programmer — and that programmer might just be me.
– Ava Deakin, Made By Girls Scholar and Future Wearable Tech Programmer

“I also believe that wearable tech should be as fashionable as it is functional,” she states. “Today most non-tech wearables are built for function – leaving kids that rely on them little choice to let their personalities shine through or just blend in. Wearable tech has the potential to be amazing in the future. It just needs the right programmer — and that programmer might just be me.”

Ava in Action

Ava has already taken the first step to making her dream happen. She was recently the runner up in her school’s robotic competition for submitting concept art for a “BraceBot.” The BraceBot is the leg brace of the future. Paralyzed and partially mobile kids alike would wear the braces to stimulate electrical activity in their legs, thus improving their mobility, speed and balance.

The brace would be programmed to be easily modifiable and customizable at the touch of a button – from rate of electrical impulses to fashion colors and patterns.

“What I have now are just dreams from my imagination. I’m not sure how to make them happen in real life, so when I saw the Adventures in Programming camp, I thought I might be able to ‘connect the dots’ on how to make my ideas come to life,” she says.

Ava believes that programming is the missing piece for her. At school, she’s been studying some basic concepts – but nothing like the animation, games or advanced programming with Java. “I want to move to the next level!” she exclaims in her entry essay, which she titled Freedom Through Programming.

“It would also be an exciting experience to take classes on the University of Chicago’s campus, while making new friends with girls with similar interests.” Ava wrote. We’re so glad that we can help her achieve her dreams, goals and freedom through programming!

Join Ava and DMA’s Made By Girls!

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Made by Girls is dedicated to empowering girls through technology and providing a safe learning environment designed to increase confidence in coding and computer science. Classes are led by female mentors dedicated to serving as role models and building a supportive community for girls learning STEM.

Made By Girls aims to make an impact on the global community by helping girls realize their potential, and encouraging them to express their creativity and personality every step of the way.

Digital Media Academy also offers co-ed courses at our other locations in subjects like filmmaking, photography and more. We hope to see you this summer!

Digital Media Academy’s Made By Girls program goes beyond just teaching tech skills; it’s a community built to empower girls, giving them a safe learning environment to express their ideas and reach their full tech potential.

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As a member of the Greene Scholars Program, Kimora Oliver (front, center) excels in math and science, and actively participates in entrepreneurial/leadership roles. 

Our Made By Girls Scholarship wrapped up last week, when our five incredible recipients were finally announced. Each week we’ll feature one of our Made By Girls Scholars as summer approaches, to tell you a little bit about each of these amazing girls who can’t wait to dive headfirst into STEM. Last week, we introduced you to Landri Drude.

Next up: Kimora Oliver of Hayward, California!

Made By Girls Scholar Kimora Oliver

Kimora loves technology, and will be getting lots of it at our flagship location, Stanford University, when the summer finally arrives!

This thirteen-year-old has an extraordinary dream: “One of my main goals is to fully understand and be able to code in as many programming languages as I possibly can,” she says.

“I would like to use these languages to create my own websites, games and apps, so that I can put them on the Internet and sell them. I’d like to use the money to pay for my college tuition in the future.”

Kimora’s entrepreneurial spirit and dedication to education are truly inspiring, and we can’t wait to help her achieve this goal when she takes our wearable tech & fashion design course!

“I am interested in participating in Made By Girls because, I feel that this program will further my knowledge in science and technology, which are disciplines I truly enjoy learning,” Kimora says.

Kimora loves art, and is also interested in digital photography and filmmaking. She is very involved in science and programming, both at school and in her spare time.

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As the vice president of her National Society of Black Engineers chapter, Kimora helped her team reach 2nd place in 2014 and 3rd place in 2015 during the annual MATHCOUNTS competition!

Kimora is a scholar at The Greene Scholars Program (GSP), which provides students with year-round, hands-on math, science and technology experiences and workshops. The GSP also facilitates annual science fairs and engineering competitions and allows students to participate in entrepreneurial/leadership programs. 

She serves as the vice president for the GSP’s chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers, which aims to increase the number of culturally responsible black engineers who excel academically, succeed professionally and positively impact the community.

The National Society of Black Engineers also hosts the MATHCOUNTS competition – a fun and challenging math program targeting U.S. middle school students and designed to increase their academic and professional opportunities – and Kimora’s team won second place in 2014, and third place in 2015!

Kimora also participated in the Champions of Science program provided by Chabot Space and Science Center (where she learned about space, chemistry and nature), and she won the 2014 Hackathon against harrowing odds!

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Kimora attended the Hackathon in 2014, but started with a team that had to leave about a quarter of the way through. She finished the app anyway, presented it to the judges by herself…AND WON!

What’s incredible about Kimora is that her drive for education isn’t just to be able to say she can do it. She truly wants to continue increasing her personal knowledge in order to give this knowledge back to the world.

One of Kimora’s truly rewarding passions is to mentor and train younger girls. “I hope to get the opportunity to use the skills I would obtain through this program and my training to mentor Made By Girls students in the future,” she says.

She went to Dreamforce by Salesforce to teach kids and teens how to build and program robots, and traveled to mentor students with Black Girls Code, a non-profit organization that educates girls ages 7-17 in coding, software development and robotics.

Kimora also visited kids and teens at the Essence Festival in New Orleans to share information about Black Girls Code and mentor them in programming and app development. She was moved by the whole process, saying, “I loved teaching them, watching them learn, and creating something amazing.”

Join Kimora and DMA’s Made By Girls!

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Kimora shared information about Black Girls Code programs at the Essence Festival in New Orleans before mentoring other girls in app development!

Made by Girls is dedicated to empowering girls through technology and providing a safe learning environment designed to increase confidence in coding and computer science. Classes are led by female mentors dedicated to serving as role models and building a supportive community for girls learning STEM.

Made By Girls aims to make an impact on the global community by helping girls realize their potential, and encouraging them to express their creativity and personality every step of the way.

Digital Media Academy also offers co-ed courses at our other locations in subjects like game design, music & beat production, and more. We hope to see you this summer!

It’s going to be a big summer for our Made By Girls students this year, as tech company Preemadonna prepares to visit them at DMA!

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Preemadonna focuses on technology relevant to the lifestyle of girls and women. They designed the Nailbot to incorporate art and tech!

Pree Walia, CEO and Co-Founder of Preemadonna (and a passionate advocate for girls in STEM), will meet with DMA’s Made By Girls students this summer at Stanford University and will also make a special presentation at our Northwestern University location’s entrepreneurship hub, The Garage!

While Preemadonna is a tech company, it’s also a virtual community of likeminded women (much like our Made By Girls initiative) that focuses on technology relevant to the lifestyles of girls and women.

Walia and the Preemadonna team know that being smart and feeling beautiful are not mutually exclusive, so they created the Nailbot – a robot that uses a smartphone to print art directly onto users’ fingernails!

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The Preemadonna Nailbot utilizes a smartphone app, with a new design feature coming soon!

Walia is a fantastic role model for our Made By Girls community. She’s presented at huge events like TechCrunch Disrupt, and is one of the creators of the Nailbot. She’s also an Advisor on the Board for MakerGirl, a mission-driven program which seeks to inspire young girls to be active in STEM subjects and to continue to say “Yes!” to future challenges by offering design and 3D printing workshops. We like the sound of that a whole lot.


Walia presented the Preemadonna Nailbot at TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco last year! (See the full presentation above.)

A Northwestern Entrepreneurship Opportunity

Later this season, a group of Made By Girls students from our Northwestern summer tech camp location will attend a special, by-invitation-only presentation at the university.

This event will be hosted by Walia at The Garage, a cross-disciplinary entrepreneurship space for Northwestern students to experiment, collaborate and launch their ideas.

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The Garage at Northwestern is a place for entrepreneurs to experiment and build!

Walia will be speaking to a group of these Northwestern entrepreneurs about developing innovative products and pitching them to funding sources and potential advocates – with our MBG students invited to be there as special guests!

Additionally, Walia will hold a private session with our students after the event all about pitching their ideas as innovative products.

That’s right, our Made By Girls students will have the opportunity to bounce their ideas off of the female CEO of a tech company that specializes in building inventions and empowering young women. How incredibly cool is that?!

Meeting with Pree Walia at Stanford

We’re kicking off our DMA summer camp season at Stanford on June 20th, when Walia will have a special visit with our Made By Girls students.

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Last year’s Stanford MBG students jumped for joy after learning how to program!

The PreeMadonna team will bring prototypes, deliver a PowerPoint presentation tutorial and offer a sneak-peek of the DIY Printer Kit to our MBG students (like those enrolled in the Made By Girls App Development for iPhone & iPad course) at our flagship location at Stanford University.

Walia will also help us finish up the Stanford MBG summer tech-camp season. She’ll be delivering another prototype presentation and tutorial on August 8th, just in time to help our Made By Girls Wearable Tech & Fashion Design students get extra-inspired by digital, wearable art!

Make it a Made By Girls Summer

Our Made By Girls camps are designed to give girls a supportive community to learn computer science and other tech-related subjects, with female role models and instructors.

Want to give your daughter the chance to pitch her invention, idea or product to a tech company CEO? Consider registering her for one of our three Northwestern University location’s Made By Girls courses!

Whether she’s a youngster just beginning her adventures in programming, a girl who has a foundation in coding but wants to dig deeper in programming with Java, or a girl who wants the full two-week programming academy experience, she’s bound to have a blast with DMA this summer!

A few months ago, Digital Media Academy was proud to announce our Made By Girls Scholarship and latest course, Wearable Tech & Fashion Design. Here’s what you need to know about this amazing new course and scholarship extension!

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The Made By Girls Wearable Tech & Fashion Design course is offered at four locations nationwide – like Stanford and Harvard, just to name a couple!

Whether a girl is interested in engineering, graphic design, fashion, or simply wants to make a positive impact in the world, learning tech skills like the ones taught in the Wearable Tech & Fashion Design course will help her reach her goals.

Wearable Tech & Fashion Design

For DMA, a learning community of diversity and excellence, MBG’s Wearable Tech & Fashion Design course couldn’t come at a better time. From smart watches to athletic wear, wearable tech is everywhere. Interactive-tech initiatives have been readily adopted by the fashion industry, and were the highlight of CES 2016.

Made By Girls students in this course will have the opportunity to design and program custom accessories that flash and light up using LilyPad Arduino. These units are sewn into fashion creations that they can then customize. In addition to this, they’ll also learn about circuitry and programming while using elements of electrical engineering and problem solving to build design solutions.

Amazing Technology Partner CLO Virtual Fashion

Girls will also utilize modeling software used by real fashion designers from our official technology partner, CLO Virtual Fashion. The CLO Atelier program is a virtual designer technology used by real fashion designers, that lets artists design and model their own garment creations.

With this software, students will learn to design and model their own creations in 3D. Made By Girls students can output their designs into 2D patterns that can be produced into real clothes.

Design For A Rock Star Contest

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Fashion-forward Divinity Roxx loves futuristic wearable tech, and will adorn herself with designs from the Made By Girls Wearable Tech & Fashion Design course while on her next European tour!

DMA’s partnership with recording artist Divinity Roxx will also come into play with this new course. The internationally renowned bassist is taking the relationship a step further and becoming an important first client for our students in the Design for a Rock Star Contest.

As the official role model and spokeswoman for DMA’s Made By Girls initiative, Roxx is most recognized for her time spent as Music Director and bassist for Beyoncé Knowles’ all-girl band. Her single “We Are” from her latest solo album ImPossible (pronounced “I’m Possible”), is even the Made By Girls program anthem.

Specifically for the Made By Girls’ Wearable Tech & Fashion Design course, Roxx is challenging students to design accessories for her to wear on stage during her European tour this fall!

The Made By Girls Scholarship

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Did You Know? Rock star Divinity Roxx and Made By Girls Program Director Peggy Lee were both mentored by famed poet June Jordan!

DMA’s Made By Girls initiative aims to build tech confidence in young women, with courses led by female instructors. It was built exclusively to foster early positive experiences with technology. “The Made By Girls program is dedicated to supporting change by providing a safe environment where girls can learn and grow together with the support of strong role models,” explains Made By Girls Program Director Peggy Lee.

Wearable Tech & Fashion Design is offered at four locations nationwide, including Stanford, UCLA, NYU and Harvard.

Need help going to summer camp? Our Made By Girls Scholarship program has been extended, and we are now accepting applications through April 16th for the 2016 summer season! To learn more about how to nominate yourself or another deserving girl to receive tuition support for a Made By Girls course of her choice, visit the Made By Girls Scholarship page.

We introduced you to Angus Willows recently in another DMA Success Story. Unfortunately, we couldn’t show you his cool creation at the time…but now we wanted to show you the amazing kinds of things that get created when kids and teens attend Digital Media Academy.

Here he is with his pride and joy, his electronic skateboard…

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The DMA INTERVIEW: ANGUS WILLOWS

What did you actually create at DMA tech camp?
The prototype for a cover that protects the electronics that are housed under a motorized long board I was making for the Maker Faire.

How exactly did it make you feel when you completed your final project?
I was happy that I had a prototype for the housing, because I really needed a cover for the board electronics – so they don’t get scratched or wet.

What were the most fun things about attending DMA tech camp?
Staying overnight at the camp was a really cool experience, because you can roam the campus and look at all that it has to offer. We had other fun activities and the food was really good.

Did you make friends at DMA camp this summer?
Yeah, I made friends with a few people that I met at the overnight portion. One guy was also named Angus!

Do you think you’ll use what you learned at DMA when you’re back at your regular school?
I will use what I learned at DMA in using other CAD programs and for more 3D printing projects.

Would you like to come back to a DMA tech camp next summer?
Yes, maybe to try out any other camps in industrial design or other areas.

I think some of my friends would really like DMA and I would suggest it to them.
– Angus Willows, Inventor & DMA 3D Printing & Industrial Design student

Would you suggest DMA tech camps to your best friends and their parents?
Definitely. I think some of my friends would really like it and I would suggest it to them.

Were your parents pleased with your DMA experience?
I think they really liked to see me learn more about CAD and industrial design and I also think that they are happy that I got to see what it was like to be on the Stanford campus. I will be going to college in a few years and I really like the opportunities that the Stanford design school offers for ID, product design and engineering.

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In his 3D printing class at DMA, Angus made this plastic piece to cover and protect the skateboard’s electronics. Cool!

Get On Board!

Today’s technology is like a train that can carry you to exciting places and a rewarding career. Be like Angus and explore your creative passions at Digital Media Academy summer tech camps.

You can see how much Angus got out of his experience in DMA’s 3d printing tech camps. Maybe this coming summer is your time to shine!

Thanks to DMA Regional Director Rachelle Harding for coordinating this DMA Success Story!

Angus Willows is the type of student we love to see attend DMA: someone who truly wants to use technology to build a better future for everybody.

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Angus Willows built a model of the housing unit for his electric skateboard on a Form 1 3D printer at DMA, in order to prep for the final kick-push at the Seattle Mini Maker Faire.

In some ways, Angus is your typical 15-year-old. He gets a lot of homework, plays on a soccer team and has been working to save up for a really big purchase. “I am still working toward my car, but I’m getting closer. I turn 16 in a few months, so I’m excited to finally be getting some more freedom,” he recently said.

So, a standard teen. But in other ways, he goes beyond the standard teen expectations. As an active member of “The Maker Generation,” Angus worked on creating his very own electronic skateboard this summer. The coolest part? He used what he learned at DMA to take it all the way to the Seattle Mini Maker Faire.

What was the 3D Printing & Industrial Design course like for you?
I definitely learned a lot in this class. This class was really fun, but a bit challenging for me at first. The feedback we got on our projects was great, and I liked the freedom to be able to create whatever I wanted for my final project. I wanted to learn as much as I could about 3D printing, but I also took this class because I wanted to build a part for my electric skateboard.

Tell us about your board.
On one side, my skateboard has two batteries, and on the other side, it has the electronics. I wanted to build a part that could house the electronics and batteries, so that if I go over a puddle or rock, the components won’t get hurt. I have the model inside (a smaller version), but I’m going to print out the full model when I get home.

DMA helped me achieve my goal, by giving me a space to create and learn more about 3D printing and industrial design.
– Angus Willows, Inventor & DMA 3D Printing & Industrial Design student

What do you consider the most valuable thing you discovered at DMA?
The best thing I learned was about the Form 1 printers. I think they’re a really cool concept. I also really liked that with this class we did a tour of Room 36, Stanford’s Product Realization Lab. They have all the 3D printers, mills, die-cutting and a lot of other different fabrication machines. I don’t have those big machines at home, so I really liked being able to see it all in one place.

Would you recommend DMA to your friends?
DMA is a really good program. A lot of my friends like 3D printing and I let them use my 3D printer, but they just get the blueprints online. I think DMA could help them learn more about the whole process and that they’d like it a lot.

What did you like about your stay at camp?
I liked the whole DMA experience and the area around Stanford. I was in the overnight program, so I got to sleep here on campus. The dorms were really nice. The entire Stanford area is really nice. And I thought it was the best cafeteria food I’ve ever had. I really liked that we got free time and the freedom to walk around and explore campus. I really liked the overnight program and I’m glad I did it.

Why did you choose to attend DMA’s camps at Stanford University?
I’m from Seattle, and came down specifically to come to Stanford. I really like the sun, but Seattle’s not a very sunny place. My parents wanted me to have the pre-collegiate experience to see what it’s like to be living on Stanford’s campus; my dad went to Stanford and I want to go here some day.

Pt. 2: Taking His Invention to Port

We caught up with Angus again after the summer, and while his skateboard was a success at a Maker Faire event, he’s already planning bigger and better things:

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Seattle native Angus soaked up as much California sunshine as he could during breaks from class. When older, he wants to become an industrial designer or entrepreneur.

So what happened after you returned home?
I finished building the 3D model for my skateboard and displayed it at the Seattle Mini Maker Faire. DMA helped me achieve my goal, by giving me a space to create and learn more about 3D printing and industrial design.

Cool. Sounds like the Maker Faire was a big success…
The Maker Faire was a lot of fun and I’m glad that I’m able to be a part of it. One of the coolest things that I saw there was a huge snake robot that actually moved. The Maker Faire inspired me to start 3D printing more, because it showed me all the cool things that can be made on a 3D printer.

What’s next?
I think that the next thing I am going to build is a sailboat that doesn’t heel (tip over when wind hits the sail) because I love sailing and I want to make it more enjoyable and less expensive for the average consumer.

Join the Maker Generation!

Next summer will be here before you know it. Plan on spending part of it at one of the DMA tech camp locations across the U.S. and Canada. Camps are held on the campuses of prestigious universities like Stanford and Harvard, so you get to enjoy a pre-collegiate experience you’ll never forget.

Be like Angus and explore your creative passion for 3D printing and industrial design. Make it happen next summer at DMA!

David Reimschussel, the on-site camp director for Digital Media Academy’s Stanford University tech camp, is one of the busiest people you’ll ever meet.

As an on-site director for DMA’s Stanford location, he says his primary goal during the busy summer camp season is, “to give support to my team, in order to provide a successful and happy experience for all of our campers.”

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DMA’s on-site director at Stanford, David Reimschussel, addresses his staff at a daily meeting.

This was David’s third season at DMA. He has also served DMA camps at Drexel University and Swarthmore College. During the regular school year, he resides in Doylestown, Pennsylvania.

We caught up with him recently and got his reflections on his important job at DMA’s Stanford camp:

How does being located on-site “24-7″ help you perform your job better as camp director?
It’s a huge advantage to be living on campus because I’m able to interact with the overnight team and lend support to it immediately. I’m able to be on call, should something arise in the evening or during weekends.

Plus, I’m able to assist on Saturdays and Sundays, when we prepare for a new week of campers. And I’m able to be here for overnight check-in on Sundays.

How has your non-summer work as a choral director prepared you to run DMA’s biggest camp and flagship operation?
My regular jobs are teacher and choral director. But being a choral director is more than just being a teacher who prepares lessons for classes.

I’m also constantly organizing performances, trips, uniforms, fundraisers, collaborative projects, budgets and numbers, and so on. So those skills definitely transfer over.

We really do cater to families that are looking for a summer enrichment program, instead of just a camp for their children.
– David Reimschussel, DMA On-Site Director, Stanford University

I’ve worked in education since college, when I studied Music Education. In the choral program, I work with about 450 kids on a daily basis, so managing and directing that many people helps prepare you for managing and directing people in other scenarios, such as camp life.

What makes Digital Media Academy different from other tech camps?
DMA is now in its thirteenth year and we’re getting bigger and bigger – adding more courses and locations each year. We really do cater to families that are looking for a summer enrichment program, instead of just a camp for their children. Fortunately, we do a great job at DMA of providing both a personal enrichment program as well as a classic summer camp experience.

The quality of the programs and instruction offered is extremely strong and it’s amazing what our students can accomplish in a week of DMA classes.

This year we also launched a new initiative for programs here directed toward girls, our Made by Girls program, committing tech and making tech classes available to girls specifically.

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A rare break in the action for busy David Reimschussel, DMA’s “man in motion” at Stanford.

What kind of support do students receive to reinforce the material being taught in class?
DMA does a fantastic job of hiring outstanding instructors, who deliver top-grade instruction in each of the classes. And DMA backs up that instruction with teaching assistants who are extremely knowledgeable about the subject matter and can reinforce what’s being taught in the classroom.

In addition to that, we generally try to hire camp counselors who are technically savvy and can give students additional feedback in the evenings.

The DMA community is so supportive, like when campers are hanging out during break with students from other DMA courses. They’re giving and getting additional support from each other. They share ideas, collaborate together on different projects and help build each other up during the entire week of camp.

How much time is spent in class and what kind of recreation breaks do the students get? What about the recreation activities for students who stay overnight?
Throughout the average DMA day, campers devote about six hours to working on their projects in class with another two hours spent on recreation breaks and lunch.

As far as overnight students, there are activities for them to do in the evening. There’s typically two hours worth of planned activities – be it a movie night, s’mores party or other ice-breaker events – and then two hours worth of free time, when they can explore the campus, play sports, hang out with new friends, and generally enjoy their summertime with like-minded peers.

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A multitasking wizard, David checks in with an instructor while getting staff updates from other classes.

What type of hurdles does your team typically encounter and how do you go about solving those problems?
We definitely face challenges on a daily basis. Inevitably, with all the moving parts that the Stanford camp has, something doesn’t go according to plan and we all have to adjust to that.

For example, early one morning we realized some of the classroom computers had crashed and lost the software preferences for the class being taught. So we contacted our tech team and they reinstalled the software before any of our campers arrived and knew a problem had even existed.

Or every so often a student will miss the check-in window. So I make sure they have their camp T-shirt and meal card for the day. Then I direct them to their right classroom, and make sure they arrive safely.

Sounds like you know how to roll with the punches and keep your composure…
Problems may crop up, but the key is that our team keeps a really positive attitude when things don’t go correctly. Everybody knows the sequence of who to go to for help with problems, and everyone works together to solve any glitches that arise.

I greatly appreciate the opportunity to work at Stanford and take on the challenges and rewards of working with such a large and awesome team!