Jordan Reeves and Her Glitter Cannon

Meet the STEAM star who’s combining activism, innovation, and collaboration to build a better world — with sparkles!

Just because you’re only 13 doesn’t mean you have to be limited in your projects. Jordan Reeves is the perfect example of that. From partnerships with Barbie to her new book Born Just Right, she is balancing school, business, and a love of making. Probably most famous for Project Unicorn, her glitter shooting prosthetic arm that she created, Reeves isn’t afraid of a challenge.

We sat down to chat with her to learn more about this STEAM superstar!

1. What inspired the original creation of your glitter cannon?

I went to a workshop where I was given the challenge to create something for my body. I thought it would be really fun to shoot glitter out of my little arm. I gave it a cool name, Project Unicorn. After I teamed up with a design partner, my idea eventually turned into a 3D printed prosthetic arm in the shape of a unicorn horn that shoots glitter.

2. What was the process of creating it like?

It started with brainstorming and drawing my ideas. Then I moved to prototyping. It was just with craft supplies at first and then I worked on a base design in Tinkercad. I attached craft supplies including cut open Nerf bullets onto the 3D printed ring (actually it looked like a starburst) around my arm. I just kept trying different concepts until something worked.

3. What has been the most enjoyable experience you have had because of the project?

The best part is meeting so many kids and seeing how they are inspired to create because of my work. And I’m just as inspired by their creativity and confidence to keep going.

4. Your big new project is obviously your book releasing soon that you wrote with your mom. Can you tell me a bit more about it?

My book is the story of my life from when I was born up until right before I started middle school. I wanted to share how my differences helped me be a creator and find my voice to talk more about disability. I got a lot of attention from an invention I made but it didn’t start there. I have gotten the chance to meet amazing people and have so many different experiences through summer camps and all kinds of meetups with kids and adults with limb differences. I also share how my parents helped me by giving me the room to figure out how to experience a one-handed life in a two-handed world.

5. What do you hope people take away from reading it?

I hope everyone who reads it will realize they can be a creator and if there’s something that is important to them, look for ways to speak up. I also hope kids will realize that failure is a big part of creating. I know my ideas wouldn’t be where they are without hitting problems along the way.

6. I know you are also a founder of the STEAM Squad. What inspired you to be a part of that group?

STEAM Squad came out of a group of awesome STEAM-powered girls on Twitter. We all talked for at least a year when we put together the website. I am constantly inspired by my friends who have dreams to change the world in all kinds of different ways.

7. Who are your STEAM role models?

I am so inspired by many of the other members of the STEAM Squad. It includes Julie Sage, Taylor Richardson, Allie Webber, and Gitanjali Rao. I’m so proud of my friends for not only working hard but speaking up to make sure we all celebrate success in STEAM.

8. With all of this, you are also still a student too. What advice would you have to students who want to run their own businesses and projects on the side?

You have to really communicate with your teachers if you’re doing work outside of school. When opportunities come up during the school year, my parents expect me to coordinate my homework and make-up tests with my teachers. That isn’t their job. They have a rule that if I can keep up with my grades and classwork, I can continue to travel and speak. I work on my school stuff during downtime – in hotel rooms, airport gates, cars, airplanes – whenever I can.

Also, when you have something you love to do that’s outside of school, you have to make time to keep working on it. My mom says my work around inventions and activism is kind of the same as taking piano lessons. You have to set aside time to work on it or you won’t keep moving forward.

Learn More

Jordan Reeves videos

Born Just Right

Steam Squad Jordan Reeves

Project Unicorn

Unicorn Prosthetic

Nothing can stop her

Jordan Reeves video


  • Erin Winick

    Erin is the associate editor of the future of work at MIT Technology Review. She is particularly interested in automation and advanced manufacturing, spurring from her background in mechanical engineering. Before joining Technology Review, she worked as a freelance science writer, founded the 3-D printing company Sci Chic, and interned at the Economist. She can be found at

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