My name is Briana Flin, and I’m Maker Ed’s office assistant and the newest member of the team.
I’ve been here now for nearly two months, so I need to apologize for the lateness of this introduction. But I have a good excuse, I promise! Within just a few weeks of my time here, we put on two major Maker Ed events––the Making Possibilities Workshop and the Maker Ed Cafe at Maker Faire Bay Area. (In fact, I wrote about Maker Faire before I wrote this introduction, whoops!) Needless to say, it was a busy time. But now the time has come for me to tell you about myself.
Unlike just about all of my colleagues at Maker Ed, I’m a native of northern California. I was born right here in Oakland (in a hospital only one and a half miles away from the Maker Ed office), but I grew up in Davis, CA. Davis is a quaint college town best known for three things: its university, its bikes, and its cows. In 2008, I left the land of students, cows and bikes, and made my way back to the East Bay to attend college at UC Berkeley. And I’ve been here ever since.
Growing up, I was (and still am) intensely curious about everything. Learning was almost always a fun experience for me, and that’s partially because I was lucky enough to have had some really unique and positive educational experiences throughout my life.
These distinctive educational experiences started at the ripe young age of five, when I spent part of kindergarten abroad in Amsterdam, where my family lived for a few months while my dad completed a legal internship. I stayed just long enough to start picking up some Dutch before promptly forgetting it all when we returned to the States. But my multicultural education didn’t end there. Upon our return, I attended a Spanish immersion elementary school, where I was taught exclusively in Spanish until the 4th grade.
Fast forward to high school, where I had the unique privilege to take some truly remarkable classes that sparked a lifelong interest in the subjects of writing, social and cultural issues, and the visual arts. My favorites included darkroom photography, multimedia design, some fabulous English and US History courses, Latino history and cultures, human geography, psychology, and international relations.
My out of school learning experiences were pretty unique as well. One of my most vivid memories from my childhood was the day that my dad took me to the Exploratorium instead of school. It was memorable partially because (let’s be honest) I got to skip school, but also because it introduced me to the idea that learning isn’t only limited to the classroom. My love for out-of-school learning continued throughout my childhood as I explored all sorts of activities and hobbies––including reading, art, creative writing, piano, swimming, soccer, teaching myself guitar, facilitating student workshops, and…well you get the point. I was (and still am) interested in a lot of things.
At UC Berkeley, I chose to major in Peace and Conflict Studies––not necessarily because I wanted to go into diplomacy, politics, or policy, but because it was an interdisciplinary program where I could learn about the lives of people around the globe. It also gave me the unique chance to reflect on how best to make a difference in the world, and it was through this reflection that I rediscovered my love for writing and visual media. Along with my Peace and Conflict Studies classes, I began to take classes in art history, film, and pursued a minor in English. After graduating in 2012, I decided I wanted to use my communication skills to make a positive difference in the world. Since then, I’ve held several positions in the multimedia storytelling field, having worked for several film and design companies.
Now I’m so excited to be working at Maker Ed because, even though I’m new to the Maker Movement itself, I’ve always felt that creativity, a DIY attitude, and interdisciplinary thinking were crucial components of being a lifelong learner. I’m also thrilled to be in a place where learning is always encouraged, and where I’m confident that my organization, multimedia, and communication skills will be put to good use.
To close, here are some of the things I like to make in my spare time:
- Ice Cream & Other Sweet Things
- Other Random Creative Things, including this apropos hand-drawn self portrait