This profile is part of a blog series called Meet a Maker, where we’re highlighting the experiences and insights of maker educators in Maker Ed’s programs.
Full Name: Sharon Lee
Maker Ed Program, Site Name & Site Location: Maker Corps, Stony Point Elementary – Albemarle County, Keswick, VA
Hometown: Annandale, VA
Background: Current student at the University of Virginia studying Biomedical Engineering
Quirky Identifier: Loves to make and send letters to friends in the mail!
Q&A with Sharon
What is your earliest memory of making?
For as long as I can remember I have always sketched the things around me, but the first thing I was really proud of making was a book that my mother helped me put together when I was four. She typed up my story, and I drew all of the pictures. It told the extremely un-linear tale of a family of little, heart shaped people that went on a vacation.
What aspect of making excites you the most?
I love being able to use my skills to make things for others. It’s an energizing challenge to try to design something that is tailored to a specific person, and that person’s reaction is always the sweetest reward. Growing up, I always made toys and games for my little sister as well as presents and cards for my friends. Now, I get to study the design challenges arising at the intersection of medicine, technology/biotechnology, and complicated health care systems, and this is very exciting to me.
What is your favorite making project and/or tool at the moment?
My sister recently introduced me to a wood burning tool. It is extremely simple to use and adds a very personal touch to anything you might make.
What is the most positive experience you’ve had so far in your program?
Disclaimer, this is a recurring experience: When you give kids the opportunity to work on anything, some have a very hard time starting out. They may sit around listlessly at first, but after a bit of talking, giving them a challenge of a medium to work with, or a little project to start with, they often are able to come up with something that they are excited to work on. Almost like a switch, the student begins to think up his/her own ideas and becomes inspired to bring them to life. This has been one of the most positive things I have witnessed, and something I feel honored to be able to encourage in them.
If you could give one piece of advice to other educators, what would it be?
I have realized this summer that patience is quite a virtue. As convenient as it can be to tell a kid how something works or what might work the best, it can be extremely worthwhile to ask questions and encourage trial and error so that the student can make their own discoveries even if it takes a while. I think that what is gained during the process is often more valuable than the product.
BONUS QUESTION: If you could have any superpower, what would you pick and why?
Gravity control! You could fall up, down, and side to side to be able to functionally fly, always be light on your toes, as well as remove any enemies by sending them skywards.