Posted by Marie Millan on June 24, 2016 at 3:05 PM

“What do you call a belt made out of watches?”

“A time belt?”

That was my attempt at answering my nine year old brother’s joke, and from the “Come on!” look on his face, I can tell I didn’t do too well. My suspicions are confirmed when he tells me, “Marie, that’s the mechanic’s answer!”.

Well, what can I say? I am a Mechanical Engineering major in her senior year at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. I enjoy being in a club on campus that designs and builds off road BAJA vehicles to race in the spring and regularly judges for First Lego League events. I am part of AOE, an engineering sorority, MakerGirl, a non-profit company that aims to inspire girls to find their passions through STEAM with the aid of 3D printers and am constantly working on group projects, such as my most recent, creating an emergency balloon flare.

When I don’t have gears on the brain, I am trying to catch up on all of my TV shows before my friends spoil all the juicy parts (SPOILER: Jon Snow is not dead!) as well as trying not to die on Super Mario Brothers when my brother decides he wants the fire power for himself and sends me flying. My family and I love the outdoors and regularly “rough it” (though mosquitos do become a problem) and I can say with certainty that it’s worth the long car ride full of “Are we there yet?”s. We got to see the pitch black Arizona sky full of twinkling stars that floated alongside the visible strip of the Milky Way lighting up the night as if there was nothing else and no one else other than us. 

At this point you might be asking, “Ok, so she likes cars and enjoys spending time getting bit by mosquitos, what does this have to do with Preemadonna?”

Here it goes:

I happen to be the Partnership Lead for Preemadonna and fellow hacker. I got the amazing opportunity to work for Preemadonna to help others find that spark of curiosity, that inner kid scientist, with which they can do amazing things while breaking through the stereotype that technology can’t be elegant or beautiful. At Preemadonna, we get to show the world that beauty can be expressed in a variety of ways, and in our case it usually consists of 0’s and 1’s. This doesn’t make it any less charming and in today’s world full of smart watches and AI’s, it also makes it useful.


Every day is Christmas morning when I go to work because as a person who just adores gadgets and gizmos, I get to play with the amazing Nailbot and MakerKits all day! I get to hack and build the Nailbot, a fingernail printing bot, from the ground up. With the MakerKits, I get to show how the Nailbot actually works and how coding lets you do incredible things. These are great opportunities that I not only get to enjoy but that Preemadonna provides for everyone.

So here’s the take away:

Be DYNAMIC. Be all of who you are: engineer, hacker, inventor, artist, designer, storyteller, leader, teacher. And most of all NEVER be afraid of being smart and beautiful.



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