KID Museum’s Maker Educators are highly-trained and extremely busy — they develop innovative new programs and workshops, teach the school groups that come in every day, and design and facilitate camps, after-school programs, and weekend activities. They serve as mentors to our high school apprentices and our high school coding corps, and as inspiration to the thousands of children and families that visit KID Museum each year.
1. Where are you from?
Born and raised in DC. Left for 20 years but came back. It’s where I want to be.
2. What’s your favorite snack for maker energy?
Coffee. And one of Jake’s chocolate chip cookies. And coffee.
3. Favorite Open Explore activity?
I love Pipe Dream for the utter joy and chaos of it all.
4. Do you have a favorite workshop or program you helped develop?
I modified and taught Invention Studio in Brunei at the Oil and Gas Discovery Centre as part of the YSEALI Professional Fellows Program. I taught 10 middle-school kids what we teach in some of our Invention Studio programming at KID Museum — basic woodworking and electronics to build an automata. It took two days by plane just to get there, and then I spent the first two days driving around the region getting everything I needed for the class — and then had to convert everything to the metric system. It was one of the best and most exhausting experiences I’ve ever had.
5. Are there any programs coming up that you’re excited about?
Strategy Board Games: Fab Lab Edition – one of the summer camp programs I helped develop and will be instructing. Games are a great way to get kids into the studios and interested in making.
6. What’s something you’ve made that you’re most proud of?
The musical instrument automaton that is in KID Museum now. It was shown at the 2017 Kennedy Center Arts Summit where Yo Yo Ma actually cranked my automaton.
7. What is your preferred method of prototyping when making?
I mostly build stuff out of wood. I will use whatever tools are best suited for the job or sometimes the one with the most power. Every once and awhile it’s fun to hit a finish nail with a sledgehammer.
8. Do you have a favorite invention?
The record player. I have three of them. Without music, life would hardly be worth living and vinyl still sounds better than anything that has come after.
9. Why have you chosen maker education as a career?
Teaching kids is a calling. I spent 20 years in the trades and it’s where I always knew I’d end up. I am one of at least four teachers in at least the fourth generation of teachers in my family. Even if I could buck that tradition, I wouldn’t want to. A few years ago I was building a treehouse for Claire, our Director of Maker and Community Partnerships, when she told me about KID Museum. I came in and was observing in the woodshop when the educator told me to grab a shirt and jump in. I’ve been here ever since.
10. What are some of your favorite things to do outside of KID?
Canoeing, camping, disappearing into the wilderness, turning off my phone for multiple days in a row, and losing track of what day and time it is.