By Paloma Garcia-Lopez, Executive Director
Today at the White House Science Fair, I had the great pleasure of meeting President Obama whose enthusiasm and support for inspiring the next generation of innovators was truly contagious. While the President spoke with young scientists about their projects, including “Super Awesome Sylvia” who designed a drawing robot that paints with watercolors, I met industry leaders committed to improving STEM Education. I was able to thank Gordon Coburn, President of Cognizant, for their commitment to Maker Corps and the founding of Maker Education Initiative. Carlos Contreras, Maker Ed board member and U.S. Education Manager for Intel Corporation also participated. Intel is a founding sponsor of Maker Ed and has funded key Maker Corps placements as well as Education Day at Bay Area Maker Faire next month.
The White House Office of the Press Secretary released new details today about several key commitments in the president’s “Education to Innovate” Campaign. Among them was our flagship program Maker Corps, envisioned by our Founder Dale Dougherty when our organization was launched. In this excerpt from today’s White House Science Fair press release, our summer campaign commitment to give many more students the ability to be “makers” states:
“This summer, the Maker Education Initiative will launch the first-ever MakerCorps. These volunteers will give more young people the opportunity to design and build something that is personally meaningfully to them. In its first year, over 100 MakerCorps members – in 19 states and Washington D.C. —will work work with 34 different partner organizations such as schools, libraries, and science centers.”
We are especially proud of this commitment because it almost doubles our original partnership goal, and we have a waiting list of over 45 agencies eager to sign up for Summer 2014!
For the full text of today’s White House Science Fair press release, click here.
Aligning with our work, the White House also announced “AmeriCorps VISTA will partner with leading non-profits in the Maker Movement to create Maker Spaces in high schools around the country.” Wendy Spencer, CEO of CNCS, shared her enthusiasm at the event. This burgeoning partnership with the Corporation for National and Community Service represents an opportunity to build the capacity of youth serving organizations around the country by developing a cadre of talented VISTA members as well as cultivating stronger maker community networks at the local level. We want to seed thriving schools, libraries, museums, afterschool programs, mini-maker faires, and maker spaces working together to develop the next generation of creative thinkers, innovators, makers!
Paloma Garcia-Lopez was appointed Executive Director of the Maker Education Initiative as of April 1, 2013. She teamed up with Dale Dougherty and the board of directors to establish the nonprofit, educational arm of Maker Media one year ago. Today, Maker Ed is a national organization that offers training, educational frameworks, and resources drawn from a national network of institutions to engage more youth in making activities.