Representation Matters: Reinvented Partners with Alpha toward a More Diverse STEM

Updated: Mar 25, 2020

Written By: Jessica Sage & Aparna Rajesh

Our newest partner Alpha—a clothing company that does so much more than make t-shirts—is an up-and-coming organization hoping to answer a big question: what does a maker look like? Their Founder-in-chief, Karina Popovich, has an answer.

“The word ‘maker’ means so many things: being an entrepreneur is being a maker, working in a lab is being a maker, crafting up something because you feel like it is being a maker, starting a social movement is being a maker,” Karina shares. “Maker goes beyond traditional building…this bigger idea of celebrating makers and doers is at the core of our mission.”

Karina is a business student at Cornell University and an all around-champion of making STEM education accessible to a diverse audience. She’s the kind of person who doesn’t let big questions like these go unanswered.

Alpha was born from Karina’s interest in redefining the gendered notions many attribute to STEM—namely, that scientific work is inherently masculine. Alpha’s early designs, which were reserved specifically for donations, feature messages that highlight the power of women in science and technology. As she continued to shape her company, she began to realize a clothing line, “wasn’t something that could really fix a deeply rooted problem [like sexism]” by itself.

She reoriented her course toward creating a brand that finds power in diversity and empowers engineers to proudly wear their inner Maker with 3D-printed streetwear. The Maker Collection features neutral-toned tops, shirts, and hoodies with a 3D-printed design of the words Maker along with a wrench and screw-driver. “I wanted to create clothing that let e