Meet Keyana Stevens, our Communications Manager

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Working on an art project in 5th grade.

Although this is an introductory blog post, I’ve actually been at Maker Ed for 6 months now, working behind-the-scenes running our blog, social media accounts, and other communications needs. I’ve been so busy getting involved that I haven’t had the time to sit down and write this until now! 

I grew up in a family of makers—my mom is a lifelong sewist and dancer, and my dad is a musician. Throughout my life, they provided the best example for what being a “maker” meant: my childhood Halloween costumes were often hand-made by my mother (sometimes I helped!), and my dad was constantly writing, playing, and re-writing songs on the guitar.

They both went out of their way to instill a love of craft and the arts in me, always supporting and holding space for my childhood projects, no matter how messy, weird, or inconvenient they turned out to be. They were there to support me through every strange crafting phase, from self-made Fimo clay action figures (complete with moveable arms and legs!), to dollhouses made out of trash and discarded recyclables, to sloppily-stitched stuffed animals. My mom’s many crafting books guided me through early stages of making. Later, when I was old enough, they supported my pursuit of music, first as a violin student, and then as a bass player in my high school’s jazz band.

One of my mom’s homemade Halloween costumes—I’m on the right, dressed as a Flamenco dancer.

As a teen and later in college, I had narrowed my focus to journalism and storytelling. The art of crafting a story seemed like the logical end point of my interests in writing, and for a time, I focused almost solely on this pursuit. But the growing “maker movement” soon caught my attention, and I found that I couldn’t stay away. First, through my involvement in a community website for crafters, and then through my work at Edutopia, I found myself drawn again and again towards the maker mindset and what it promises for learners of all ages—even myself.

Over the years I’ve often felt like a “Jane of all trades, master of none.” I’ve taken up, and subsequently lapsed on, all of the following maker pursuits: knitting, crocheting, coding, Arduino, sewing, jewelry-making, ceramics, watercolor painting, cartooning, and even furniture refinishing. 

No matter the medium, I feel I am always making something—and the lesson that resonates is that it’s the process, not the medium, that really matters. The process of discovering ourselves through art, or music, or writing, is just as, if not more important than, the finished product that results.

I am so grateful and excited to be working with an organization that supports these endeavors, the way my parents supported mine, in a role that combines all of my interests and pursuits into one job. I’m looking forward to continuing to help educators bring the experiences of making to more youth everywhere! 

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