Made with Code: Women in Tech

Shapeways is committed to empowering girls to access the best technology. Our own women who code are super excited to be a part of Made with Code and to share their favorite coding projects and advice with you.

Jennifer Fredholm

Who are you? What do you do at Shapeways?
I'm a Software Engineer Team Lead at Shapeways. I design and build code as well as manage a fantastic team of software engineers.

How did you get to where you are today? What path did you take?
I started college as an English major but I had always been a bit of a computer geek (I got that from my dad) and had dabbled in making my own website in middle school. Freshman year I took a part-time job in the computer labs and seeing other people work on their computer science homework I decided I wanted to code too. I added a Computer Science minor and then eventually decided to make it into a double major. It was one of the best decisions I've made.

What languages can you code in?
I work mainly in PHP these days, but I've done others at other companies in the past. Once you know one language well it is easy to pick up another. I'm not a very good 3D modeller but I've been trying to get better. I designed a promotional dice a couple months ago using the Shapeways 2D-3D creator and Blender.

What's your favorite thing made with code?
I can't pick a favorite - I just love that with code anything is possible! Much like with Shapeways ;)

What's your advice for young girls today?
Don't let worrying about whether or not you'll be good at something stop you from trying. Learning new things takes time and don't be afraid to ask questions.

Read more about other amazing makers on our blog.

Nicole Wagoner

Who are you? What do you do at Shapeways?
I am a Software Engineer at Shapeways. I focus on projects that relate to user purchases and Shop Owner tools: What can we build to make purchasing easier for customers? What can we build to help shopowners share their products with the world? I work with our product team to help define how new features should work from both the user's perspective and from a technical perspective. Then, I work with other engineers to build it.

How did you get to where you are today? What path did you take?
As many people do, I had an odd path to where I am today. When I was in high school, I was very much interested in art, reading, history, and politics. When I went to college, I focused a lot on the social sciences. I still had an undeclared major in my junior year, when I started to really consider what I wanted my future to be like. Feeling a bit lost, a friend of mine suggested that I take a coding class since I liked to create things and to solve problems. I was a bit nervous going in to my first coding class since I never had any exposure to programming before. But as it turned out, my friend was right,€“ I loved to code. I just hadn't known it yet. Coding turned out to be very intuitive to me and I ended up focusing on programming for the remainder of my college years.

What languages can you code in? What kind of skills do you need at work?
I can code in PHP, Java, Perl, Python, C++, and Javascript. I don't actually know how to 3D model, but I really want to learn! It is on my top 5 goals of the year along with learning microprocessing/arduino. While being able to architecture code is really important, I also rely on a lot of non-technical skills in my day-to-day activities. Being able to collaborate with other engineers, product managers, designers, and other teams is a key skill that is needed to define, solve, and communicate solutions.

What's your favorite thing made with code?
My favorite thing that I made was a game that I wrote in java and named Squirrely Asteroids. It was a lot like a regular asteroids game, except instead of a ship that shoots asteroids with its lazers, it had a flying squirrel that shot asteroids with its lazer vision. It was a very simple game, but it was the first thing that I made that made me really proud. My happiest moment was when I shared it with my friends and family, they were playing something that I made!

What's your advice for young girls today?
Be open minded and try new things! More importantly - stick with them! It's really easy to look at something complicated and think I can't do that. But there really is nothing that you can't do if you try it. Sometimes things get hard and it's really tempting to give up. But if you stick with it, you will learn how to handle those difficult cases and you will grow from the experience.

Ceren Ercen

Who are you? What do you do at Shapeways?
I'm Ceren Ercen, a Systems Administrator, Operations/DevOps at Shapeways.

How did you get to where you are today? What path did you take?
I started as a booth babe at Comdex brought along by a friend to help staff the FreeBSD booth. Not even joking. But I have always hated not knowing or understanding what's going on in the conversations around me... and after the show's first day, in the evening, I sat down with my friend to learn how to use my first shell account on magnesium.net, a (defunct) community shell account server. At the age of 19, I was a bit of a late starter when it comes to tech! You do not have to be a Computer Science student in University.

Before this, I was a mostly-straight-A's AP student who didn't have any particular focus. I was just following the generic "be a top student" track, like that was some sort of meaningful accomplishment on its own. To my family, it may have been, but I only started finding my direction after I cut loose!

What languages can you code in? What kind of skills do you need at work?
I can sometimes "Hello World" my way out of a wet paper bag. Block reuse, copypasta, libraries, google search, stackexchange, these are all my friends. I don't often have to wrangle something new out of nothingness. The more we sysadmins use and streamline each other's code and tools, the better off we all are.

What's your favorite thing made with code?
I have a metallic plastic necklace pendant made to hold a 12-year glowing vial of H^3 gas. I want to replace the cracking rubber wristband holder for my Fitbit flex with elastoplastic. The non-replaceable soles of my VFF shoes could use a replacement patch with tread Custom-printed housings for wearable electronics are going to be awesome, because many of them don't fit non-standard, or even non-male body shapes.

What's your advice for young girls today?
Connect with the world around you. Everyone needs help. Sometimes you'll be the person who already knows of a solution that would mostly fit their needs, and sometimes that will be a piece of technology you've seen used before. Yeah, for now it'll be hard to get them to hear you out, at first, but at least try to think it through, if they won't listen to your suggestions. And don't be too discouraged if coding doesn't come naturally to you, either. The people who instantly 'get it' when it comes to programming are not the only people we need in the tech industries. Look for unofficial coaches, people who want to puzzle through their own tech challenges by thinking-out-loud to you. You can be the Duck for rubber-duck-troubleshooting!

Kimberly Lin

Who are you? What do you do at Shapeways?
I'm a product manager at Shapeways, and I work with developers, designers, and many others to make features that you see on our website. My work focuses on helping people buy from our site, and building tools to help designers run their businesses on Shapeways.

How did you get to where you are today? What path did you take?
Growing up, I played a lot of games on my home computer. When I was 10, I started to spend most of my time chatting with friends online, which turned into blogging, customizing my blog, then making my own website.

My high school activities led me to where I am today because I spent most of my time in front of a computer. Every weekend, I spent hours and hours designing our school's arts magazine, and through a summer program, I programmed and designed games to help kids learn math.

I studied business in college and dabbled in different types of jobs, but I knew I wanted to work with technology and design. I love being a product manager because it's a great blend of both.

What languages can you code in?
HTML and CSS, but I don't do much of this in my day-to-day. Because I work with designers and developers, it's important for me to collaborate with my teammates and to find the best solutions.

What's your favorite 3D printed thing?
We had an exhibit at the MAD Museum where we 3D scanned people and then printed them out. I now have a miniature 3D version of my loved one.

What's your advice for young girls today?
You can be interested in anything you like, and you can do anything you want. If you find yourself spending a lot of time doing an activity that you really enjoy, then it's a really great sign that you should continue to pursue it.

Kate Zasada

Who are you? What do you do at Shapeways?
Kate Zasada, Product Manager. I work with our Development and User Experience teams to make the Marketplace at Shapeways more awesome. I've always been focused on the Shopper side of Shapeways: how do shoppers find Shapeways, and find amazing products on our marketplace? I help coordinate our efforts, in order to ensure that we are listening to what our community wants and making our website even more awesome.

How did you get to where you are today? What path did you take?
I really found product management serendipitously-- I've worked in finance and operations in the past, but wanted to work for a smaller company and took a job at an educational technology company to move to NYC. After a few months working on projects for them, they asked me to join the product team and I've never looked back! All of my other jobs required strong analytical skills and coordinating many moving parts, so being a product manager really means I get to combine those skills with my other hobby, spending lots of time on the internet!

What languages can you code in? What kind of skills do you need at work?
I know some front end (HTML/CSS) and SQL, and I'm learning Javascript and PHP currently. I also know how to wireframe, make prototypes and do usability testing. I don't do all of these things on a daily basis, but it is really helpful to understand how the developers and designers I am working with are doing their job (and sometimes I do get to help!) I also need to know how to talk to anyone and understand how many different people think and what they are excited about.

What's your favorite thing made with code?
My favorite thing Made with Code is the Shapeways Custom Ring Creator. It was my first project I worked on after starting at Shapeways, and it was fun to immerse myself into learning how to help people create a physical product without needing to know 3D modeling or code! I got to do usability testing, ux design and really work on the entire experience of creating something from nothing, which was really gratifying. It is awesome to still hear stories of how the app has helped people make rings as gifts or even wedding rings!

What's your advice for young girls today?
Don't be afraid to ask for what you want-- people can't read minds, so you need to speak up if you want. Embrace what you are curious about-- I loved learning about how the internet works, even before I worked in technology. Being curious and learning about the things you find interesting will always benefit you in the long run.

Emily Brick

Who are you? What do you do at Shapeways? I'm Emily, and I'm an Interaction Designer here at Shapeways.

How did you get to where you are today? What path did you take?
I went to school for Graphic Design, but my heart was set on User Experience Design and digital interfaces from the beginning. Most of my school projects were print-based, so I looked for other resources to find ways to get into the digital world. I found an amazing extra-curricular class that taught Web Design, and the two professors there were so inspiring that it only pushed me harder to move in that direction.

What languages can you code in?
I mostly code with HTML/CSS & Sass at Shapeways, and dabble with Javascript & PHP when I have time to play around. I would love to get better at Javascript. My favorite part about coding so far has been doubting my abilities when I set out to work on a project, and then proving myself dead wrong when I actually find out that, hey, I did this thing. The doubt gets slimmer and slimmer the more I experiment, and the possibilities that unfold become endless.

What's your favorite thing made with code?
I love the MWC bracelets Chelsea Clinton & Mindy Kaling are flaunting! Reading the experiences these girls are having with this project is so inspiring.

What's your advice for young girls today?
You can literally do anything. Don't let someone else define what successful means for you. Set out goals that make you happy and you cannot go wrong :)

Lauren Slowik

Who are you? What do you do at Shapeways? I am the Designer Evangelist for Education. It's my job to talk to everyone: teachers, students and all Shapies (that's what we call Shapeways users), about how they learn and what they want to learn about 3D modeling and 3D printing.

How did you get to where you are today? What path did you take?
I wanted to go to art school. My parents wanted me to have a job. The compromise was learning technical arts. I studied Cinema and Photography in college right when digital cameras were beginning to take over the scene. Which led me to buy a Mac. Which led me to work for Apple, who gave me an iPhone 1 and trained me in every software they made. I was hooked. I studied Design and Technology at Parsons (yeah, the Project Runway school) where I got my Master of Fine Arts (finally an art degree!). I wrote a software prototype for the Kinect that registers clothing measurements using 3D scanning so you always get the perfect fit when shopping online. I conducted my master's thesis research on consumer 3D printing and creativity, you can read about it here: http://3DIY.cc. That was fun. Now I teach code and design at Parsons and work for Shapeways. I wouldn't change a thing.

What languages can you code in?
HTML, CSS, Javascript, C++, Python, Processing, Arduino. I'm hoping to learn Grasshopper soon so I can make algorithmic 3D designs and prints like Zaha Hadid and Jessica from Nervous System.

What's your favorite thing made with code?
I have so many! This Google doodle for modern American dance pioneer Martha Graham's 117th birthday. Also the gravity- and logic-defying designs of architect Zaha Hadid.

What's your advice for young girls today?
Code is in everything. If you don't feel a burning desire to learn it just cuz then find something you are interested in, writing, photography, dance, anything and find a way to bring code to it. That's pretty much how I did it.

Eleanor Whitney

Who are you? What do you do at Shapeways?
Eleanor Whitney, I'm the Community Outreach Coordinator. I connect with Shapeways community members all over the world and connect them to the tools they need to teach others about using 3D printing and Shapeways to make products and projects that they dream of. I also share stories from our community members on the Shapeways blog and organize local events in New York City to bring together people who love 3D printing.

How did you get to where you are today? What path did you take?
I studied writing, art, education and business in college and graduate school. I learned about coding and working at technology companies through an internship at a company called Artsicle, that was co-founded by a woman my age and through taking a course on coding at General Assembly, which is special school that teaches people about technology and design. I also learned a lot by talking and spending time with women who I admired who also work in technology - it was so important to me to know other cool girls who were into coding, technology and exciting new businesses and projects!

What languages can you code in?
I am learning the Ruby language and the Ruby on Rails web framework, as well as JavaScript, HTML and CSS. I can make websites that look nice and can store information!

What's your favorite thing made with code?
I love 3D printed unicorns! But what's so cool about learning to code is that you can make anything: from music, to games, to robots, to art.

What's your advice for young girls today?
Try things that you are unsure about! If you are interested in something, try it out, even if you are not supposed to like it! You will be surprised what you learn, the friends you make and what new activities you will get to do if you take a risk to try something new!

Anything else you want to say?
I never thought I was a technical person and thought that I would not be good at coding because I did not study computer science. What I found when I started to learn to code is that I loved that you can solve problems with code and that learning to code is like learning a new language. I spent a long time learning French and now I've traveled to France many times and have made friends in French through talking and writing to people in French. I think it's the same with learning to code - I can make new friends and explore new places because I'm learning a new language!

Laurie Berenhaus

Who are you? What do you do at Shapeways?
Laurie Berenhaus, Customer Service Agent. I communicate with all the departments to make sure you are heard and help you realize your ideas. As an artist and 3D Modeler/Sculptor, I've also been developing video tutorials to help you get started printing.

How did you get to where you are today? What path did you take?
I started out as a traditional sculptor with a special fondness towards creating objects for stage and screen like props, masks and puppets. Excited about incorporating new technology into my workflow, I studied digital animation and vfx but found that I kept longing to have my creations in my hand and not just on the screen; that is how I fell into 3D printing.

Along the way it helped to reach out to those whose work I admired and really pick their brains. I like to surround myself around the experts, and soak in their knowledge. I would learn from my mistakes and mistakes others had made, so I could take the next step and develop my craft even further.

What languages can you code in? What 3D modeling programs do you know? What kind of skills do you need at work?
I started 3D modeling in Lightwave and sculpting in ZBrush, but have since been experimenting with other software and I'm excited to dive deeper into coding so I can create models using funky mathematical patterns. More than anything, I love to teach and tell stories. I see 3D printing as another tool I can pull out of my toolbox to help me realize my designs when the project calls for it and code helps me get there. I teach because I love sharing information and help empower others to make and do extraordinary things. I see myself as a storyteller because I don't want to label or limit myself to one tool or method when creating something. An opportunity may lie in front of me and this way I can pick and choose from my collection of skills in order to best realize the idea. When I make something, it is more than a three dimensional object but something new that didn't exist before.

What's your favorite thing made with code?
I love how Laika used 3D printing when creating the different faces for the stop-motion animation feature, Paranorman. Each frame uses a different face created from 3D printers similar to our Full Color Sandstone process. Every freckle matches up. In my eyes, Laika is a great example of how traditional processes can work successfully with emerging technology to tell a story.

What's your advice for young girls today?
Take risks! I've learned the most from experiences where I was completely outside my comfort zone. I've always tried to follow my gut, even when I've been encouraged to take the road most followed or just stay put. If I waited for opportunities to open up, I would be waiting for a while. Follow your passion and the rest will fall into place- even if it isn't how or when you originally imagined.

Anything else you want to say?
Coming from a traditional sculptor's background, I had trouble embracing coded design at first. I loved the feel of clay in my hand and how I can discover new forms right in front of me. Wouldn't using code to to create this idea place a barrier between me and my design during the production process? Shortly after diving into CAD software I found out I was wrong. I have just as much control and if not, more than as I did before. My background in sculpture has given me even further insight and appreciation for code. Before code and 3D printing if I wanted to sculpt a figure, I would have to create an armature from wood or metal, build up and sculpt the form with clay, create a mold and cast the sculpt in my material of choice. Using code to generate a figure, I save time and money so I can spend energy towards focusing on my design. Code is an amazing tool and my toolbox of skills has been that much stronger for it.

Careers at Shapeways


Shapeways is the best source for limitless personalized production. With a growing online community and marketplace, we're a start-up that harnesses 3D printing to help people make, buy, and sell anything you want. Our marketplace of over 10,000 shops enables community members to share their designs with the world. We've built tools to help people, even without 3D design experience, customize and even create the stuff in their lives.

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