At the heart of the Maker Movement are the makers themselves. As I visit makerspaces and Maker Faires, the creativity, generosity, and optimism of the makers that I meet is inspiring. It reminds me of why Maker Ed’s goal is for every child to have the opportunity to see themselves as a maker. It is also why I feel incredibly fortunate to work with the amazing members of the Maker Ed team– all of whom exemplify these attributes. Today is an exciting day– we get to introduce you all to our newest Maker Ed team member, Dr. Lisa Regalla! We’ve asked Lisa to share a bit about herself and the path that brought her to Maker Ed. ~AnnMarie
December 7, 2012, by Lisa Regalla
I’m so excited to be the newest member of the Maker Ed team! As Program Director, I see a world of possibilities of what we can do together. I thought the best way to tell you a bit about myself and why I joined the Maker Ed team was to identify the “Maker Moments” in my life. (Your challenge is to count the number you find…)
I never knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. (I still don’t.) I was good at lots of different things and liked doing lots of different things. I was turned on to science in my high school chemistry class. My teacher, Mr. Pawlish, showed me that in addition to watching marshmallow peeps expand in a vacuum chamber, chemistry could involve solving problems while listening to music and creating your own gas chromatograph with Tide detergent and some household supplies.
I thought chemistry might be for me and pursued my BS at Lehigh University. I took advantage of a scholarship program and spent my 5th year pursuing my second degree: a BA in theater. I spent a full year learning how to use an industrial sewing machine to make costumes, creating beards, applying stage make-up, and lighting a set. I’ll never forget my first day of set building class when I was told that we would learn how to weld. My jaw hit the floor. I went up to the instructor afterwards and said, “I won’t have to weld though, right?” I will never forget how empowered I felt when I actually did it. That class taught me valuable life skills that I carry with me to this day.
At Lehigh, I also started working with a Physics professor doing outreach to local schools. It’s there that I started to realize how my love of science and my love of art could blend.
Setting up an exhibit on bats at Lehigh University
After graduation, I took a job at the Da Vinci Science Center in PA (at the time, it was called the Discovery Center) and ran their outreach program. I drove a big purple van and performed outreach shows for elementary and middle school kids. I started that program from scratch and had to find or create all of my props, including my own contraption to show kids the power of sound waves. I was determined to shatter a wine glass at every show!
Now, we will pause for a brief 5.5 year intermission while I was obtaining my PhD in chemistry from the University of Florida.
My next career step was a job at the Museum of Science, Boston as an educator in nanoscale science and engineering where I gave presentations to the general public. You can watch a video of how I used gold beads, ping pong balls, Velcro, a colander, pipe cleaners, and a random metal basket to explain a tumor treatment!
From there I transitioned to Twin Cities Public Television as the Science Editor for the PBS Kids series DragonflyTV: Nano. We created a 6-episode season on nanotechnology for kids along with a board game and educational activities
As the Manager of Science Content & Outreach for SciGirls, I helped create a fashion technology episode that inspired me to explore e-textiles. I even made my own lightning bug costume for Halloween. Click on the image below to check out my “How-to” videos on creating fun and functional accessories (these are Flash videos).
I hope this tour of my Maker Moments (You were keeping track, right?) has revealed why I am so excited about this position. I hope to continue to map more Maker Moments for years to come and look forward to working more with this wonderful community of creators!