Community Spotlight: Raquel’s 3D Printing Journey

May 21, 2021

Raquel C. is a junior at University Heights High School and a programmer for the FTC Bronx-based team, Heights Techies. She aspires to become a Biomedical Engineer. With her strong love for STEM, she continues to advocate for her community to create a better living environment and continue to seek ways to get deeply involved. 

One of the ways in which Raquel has been deeply involved to support her community is through her engagement with the NYC FIRST STEM Center. One of the partnerships that were created by our students was Makers for COVID-19, an organization dedicated to using 3D printing to assist organizations that are in need of face shields and ear savers. Learn more about her story below: 

This past year, the NYC FIRST STEM Center has connected me with Makers for COVID-19 to learn how to create and distribute PPE equipment. I joined Makers for COVID-19 because the news highlighted the shortage of medical supplies during the pandemic. So many communities, such as mine, were suffering tremendously and I knew that I needed to do something. Finding myself with free time, I searched for ways to assist others and became introduced to Makers for COVID-19 through the NYC FIRST STEM Center. I’ve had an intrinsic and growing fascination with biomedical engineering, and I thought this would be a perfect experience to further develop that interest. 

Makers for COVID-19’s mission is to use 3D printing to assist organizations that are in need of face shields and ear savers. Immediately I fell in love with the mission, and not only was I going to begin my project/passion of serving my community, but I was also allowed to learn more about different STEM skills that I was yet to be introduced to. 

I was eventually able to secure a grant from Griptape to support me with this passion project of mine. With the grant, I purchased an Ender 3 Pro3D printer and I began the process of learning to assemble and 3D print.

During this learning process, I faced many challenges from formatting the SD card to leveling the printer, and I was not able to print in the first two weeks of purchasing the 3D printer! However, I always received support from my fellow community members. Through each challenge encountered, I felt inspired to continue, which created a motivation in me that was quite exhilarating. Despite not being able to print in the first two weeks of purchasing the 3D printer, I never gave up because I knew that the cause was too important for me to just stop. I appreciate how my team supported me and constantly checked up on my progress even when I wasn’t printing. (A personal shout out to Ezzaddin and Brian!)  My community experience has been fulfilling and has opened a new pathway to my future in Biomedical Engineering. I hope to continue to be deeply involved and represent my community to make the world an easier place to live in.