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Tessa Fang has always been passionate about dance. From a young age, she found that creativity and expressing herself through movement was something that came naturally to her. Aside from dance, she enjoyed harnessing her creativity into making and building physical things, but felt discouraged that she couldn’t use her creative side in science classes. However, during her 9th grade physics class, Tessa was excited to finally combine logic and creativity.  That class sparked her interest in engineering and innovation.

Even as Tessa could see the connection between creativity and science, she still struggled with how to combine the two in academics and her future career.  She continually felt that she was required to choose between STEM and the arts when choosing her path, and that it would be impossible to fully excel in both simultaneously. While exploring whether integration of these two fields was possible, she stumbled upon an artist who creates light shows in subway stations, and was instantly inspired. This spark led to her creation of her interactive display, Silhouettes.

In creating Silhouettes, Tessa’s hope was to show that artists and engineers are able to innovate, create, and better our world in a way that is more similar than different. While Silhouettes was created out of a desire to combine two different approaches to making, it also it connects people on a common ground by showing that no matter how different we are, we all have the same shadow.

Tessa’s favorite part of Silhouettes is sharing it with others. “I still see myself as a kid. I love connecting with kids like myself and spreading my message. I first brought it to my dance studio and it was really neat watching people dance in front of something other than a mirror.”  In order to fully appreciate the magic of Silhouettes, you have to interact with the display.  But, if you aren’t fortunate enough to have the opportunity to be a live Silhouette, watching a video of it in action is the next best thing.

What’s next for Tessa? Now she is working on other projects like Younique Journals, a website where people can customize their own bullet journals, combining a recent creative trend with technology to create a more efficient way of practicing this hands-on hobby. It’s hard to believe this impressive Maker Girl is only a senior in high school. We’ll be keeping our eye on her as she embarks on college next year, where she’s already expressed a desire to pursue mechanical engineering with a focus on design.  She tells us that she eventually hopes to become an interactive designer.  To us, she already is!

Tessa’s ideas closely mirror KID’s philosophies about the interaction between art and STEM. At KID Museum, we believe that making with STEM should not be separated from art, and that their interaction is key in innovation and making. As Tessa states, “Two seemingly unalike things can always be connected. For me, it was dance and engineering, but that can mean something different to every person.”  At KID Museum, it’s all about the catalyst for your spark!

Want to experience Silhouettes and dozens of other interactive exhibits in person? You can! Join us at KIDfest, our signature family festival celebrating making, creativity, and innovation. You can learn more about Tessa and Silhouettes on her website

Julia Fox-Rabinovich