On June 17th, I attended the kick-off for the National Week of Making at the White House. I was one of about 60 people from across the nation invited to the White House for an event put on by the White House Office of Science and Technology. The title of the event was “Building a National Maker Infrastructure: Making Champions and Ambassadors.”
Senior Advisor for Making Andrew Coy (center front) with maker ambassadors from all 50 states (Photo Credit: Seth Andrew)
All of the attendees were designated as Maker Ambassadors and charged with promoting the Maker Movement across the United States. The event included a session on American Maker Cities and featured Dale Dougherty (CEO Maker Media), Umberto “Bert” Crenca (co-founder of AS220), Sonya Pryor Jones (Chief Implementation Officer of the Fab Foundation), and Renee Fredricks (Director of Youth Education and Employment Services, Cook Inlet Tribal Council). There was a breakout meeting focusing on how to spread the maker movement and make it accessible to all. In addition, there were talks by representatives from the U.S. Department of Education, the National Endowment for the Arts, Veterans Affairs, the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the National Institute of Standards. We are excited to report that the federal government appears to be 100% behind this initiative!
We enjoyed listening to talks by Albert Palios (U.S. Department of Education), Tom Kaili (Deputy Director, Tech and Innovation), Andrew Coy (White House Senior Advisor for Making), and Megan Smith (Chief Technology Officer for the United States). We really appreciate their support. The Maker Faire Ambassadors met throughout the afternoon in interactive sessions and focused on identifying solutions for propelling the Maker Movement across the country.
The next day, we attended the National Maker Faire at the University of District Columbia. It was a great display of creativity and innovation. My favorite exhibits included Ability3D, which is a personal desktop 3D printer for metal parts (look for it soon on Kickstarter!) and the Pinbox 3000, a fully customizable and modular pinball kit. Also, I enjoyed listening to a talk by Chris Peterson, Assistant Director of Admissions at MIT describing how MIT uses maker portfolios in the admission process.
It was an inspiration to be surrounded by so many talented people from all over the country who are part of the maker movement and to learn and share ideas with people who have a positive mindset on how to solve problems and create opportunities.
Here are some resources for the National Week of Making:
Nation of Makers: https://www.whitehouse.gov/nation-of-makers
Maker City Playbook: https://makercitybook.com