Pam is a student who was a frequent visitor to our makerspace this past school year. As a senior, she often visited during her independent study periods or her lunch. Pam always had an interest in computer science, but says her time in our makerspace this year has helped her determine her college major and what she wants to do with her career. She said the makerspace played a big part in realizing how much she loves computers and technology. Pam's favorite station in our space, was our Take-Apart Tech Station, where she has both taken computers apart and built them. As a result of the work she did at that station, Pam decided to go to school for IT and now has a summer internship with our tech team at New Milford High School.
Pam’s story served as an impetus for a presentation I did for the students of New Milford High School on Makerspace related careers and can serve as inspiration for anyone involved in the maker movement. Pam and other like her have shown that makers can make a living from their making, if they choose to.
Our makerspace inspires innovation, passion, and personal motivation and interests. As a starting point in my presentation, I provided to our students an overview of our makerspace themes for the year and crosswalked them with traditional science career options related to STEM disciplines including Chemistry, Computer Science, Engineering, Environmental Science, Geosciences, Life Sciences, Mathematics and Physics/Astronomy.
I then moved the students into thinking of more creative fields inspired by our makerspace which included film production, painting/design, 3d fashion design, and molecular gastronomy. I also introduced students to the idea of the convergence of Science, Art and Technology and moving from STEM to STEAM. We discussed out of the box STEAM related careers mentioned in this article including Legoland Designer, Professional Hackers and 3-D Printing Materials Manager. I also highlighted for students maker jobs that didn't exist 10 years ago, as mentioned in this article, which included Quadcopter Pilot. I also spoke at length to students about being an entrepreneur and how one of the goals of our makerspace is to empower students to seek out jobs in STEM or creative fields, but that they can also create their own jobs and industries depending on their interests. I gave the example of a group of our students who spent the school year designing and creating 3d printed items not only for themselves, but had lots of interest from their friends and family. Inspired by Amazon’s 3d printed items store, the boys are now in the process of brainstorming a plan for their own 3d printed item store that will allow them to design, create, print, customize and sell their own items.
Makerspace Inspired Careers = Science + Creativity + Entrepreneurship
Through our makerspace this past year at New Milford High School, many of our students had the opportunity to explore new ways of learning. The creation of our Makerspace has allowed us to transform our once irrelevant library into a vibrant media center that serves as a unique learning environment and inspiration for our students within and beyond school.