I have spent my career designing new programs as well as building on the visionary work of others. My work is focused on creating experiential learning opportunities for both young people and adults, in an effort to inspire them to engage in their passions, think differently about the world and feel empowered to make positive changes around them.
Founding Director, SMU Maker Education Project
The SMU Maker Education Project is dedicated to inspiring transformational maker-based learning experiences for students in the K12 system. Their mission is to support the academic integration of the maker education movement in K12 schools in a sustainable way that creates a lasting change. By leveraging new and emerging technologies and tools in combination with supportive, student-centered facilitation, they believe maker education can develop students who are self-actualized, resilient and excited to take on the toughest challenges of the 21st century and beyond.
As the founding director, I collaborated with a team to envision a new educational outreach program based at SMU and building on the momentum of the SparkTruck program.
Director, Deason Innovation Gym
The Deason Innovation Gym is a student-centered makerspace filled with both high tech and common tools and materials. Once oriented, students gain 24/7 access to the space. They welcome all SMU students, at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, from across campus. With a little training, students can use the 3D printers, laser cutter, CNC carving machine, vinyl cutter and power tools to create objects and complete projects, both personal and for class.
I was able to build on the momentum of my predecessors to focus on the design of the culture of the DIG as well as the learning experiences we created for students.
The K12 Lab is a catalyst for creative confidence in the elementary and secondary education sectors. Through workshops, resources or tools, they teach using immersive real-world projects where creative problem-solving matters most. They aim to obliterate opportunity gaps in K-12 education by experimenting with new models and sharing design approaches with stakeholders in the K-12 sector. The experiences they create bias towards action and by jumping into new, invigorating ways of learning, educators have stretched beyond their comfort zone to develop new skills and mindsets.
I worked on a small team of learning experience designers to imagine new interventions and programming to spread the use of design thinking in the K-12 system.
Program Manager, SparkTruck at Stanford University
SparkTruck is an educational build-mobile! In the summers of 2012 and 2013, a team of students drove across the country, spreading the fun of hands-on learning and encouraging kids to find their inner maker.
In 2014, as I took over the project, we set out to tackle a new challenge: How might SparkTruck create a lasting impact in schools?
We were excited to begin working with educators to inspire, train and support them in designing and implementing design-based, maker-inspired, hands-on learning experiences for their students. We saw the SparkTruck as a powerful tool to catalyze teachers around this way of teaching, and as a bridge between content experts, teachers and skilled makers.
In 2017, under my leadership, the SparkTruck came to SMU in Dallas, TX and became the SMU Maker Education Project.
Director of Program Operations, Spark Program
Spark brings together schools, businesses and individuals to create career exploration and self-discovery experiences for middle school students. Their programming brings possibilities to life for students on the path to successful completion of high school and beyond.
I joined Spark right as the small founding team was working to scale the program from a regional offering to a national organization. I collaborated with a team to design scaled up programming and establish offices in Los Angeles and Chicago.
Founding Teacher, Palouse Community School
I joined a veteran educator, Dan Calzaretta, to start a small, experimental independent school in Walla Walla, WA. We designed a variety of learning experiences for students, including service learning and entrepreneurial projects. Students collaborated across age groups to engage in project-based, interdisciplinary learning.