In this post, we meet Donaldo Almazan (he/him), an artist and engineer helping to create Maker Ed’s online community for makers and educators, which is launching this summer!
Tell us a little more about you.
Hello! I’m Donaldo, a Community Engagement Co-lead at Maker Ed. I’m originally from South Texas (Rio Grande Valley ☀️ ) and moved to Houston, Texas, to study Chemical Engineering. I love engineering because I enjoy designing things and solving problems; however, I also really enjoy making art (sculpture, drawing, and crafting). In school, I was always tinkering with both engineering and art projects, later co-founding the “Art & Engineering Club,” where we built public art installations and led maker workshops.
After I graduated and I started my career as a process engineer, I realized that I missed having more creative time to tinker on ideas. I decided to build my life’s work closer toward my passion for making, and landed at Maker Ed!
What’s one thing about yourself that you think is important for others to know?
I love sketching and brainstorming ideas. I’ve got dozens of notebooks where I collect notes for art projects, products, inventions, etc. – I think one day I’d like to bring one of my products to market or work on citizen science research projects. What I love about sketching and note-taking (and sketchnoting) is creating connections between ideas. I’m fascinated with learning other people’s creative processes, and finding better ways to organize my own notes and discover connections. I highly recommended this book for anyone interested in learning about note-taking systems.
What excites you the most about your work?
At the end of last year, I found Maker Ed when I was searching online for maker spaces and communities to engage with both locally and remotely. Through that process, I realized how difficult it can be for makers and educators to find community and resources to support them. I’m incredibly excited to work on Maker Ed’s online community to provide a space where creatives can share ideas, ask questions, and exchange experiences.
My hope is that the connections our community develops will grow larger than my work at Maker Ed, and that makers and educators find and develop meaningful connections with others, locally and online.
Why do you make?
To be honest, I’ve not always been a “productive” maker – I would tinker on ideas A LOT, but rarely ever finish a project. I’d also spend a lot of time totally paralyzed by all the past and future projects I wanted to continue – I couldn’t choose! I think what really changed my trajectory in being a maker was overcoming my “fear of failure” when making things.
Once I stopped worrying myself about either: getting things “right the first time”, putting too much weight on the end goals, or stopping the moment something didn’t go right – I was able to make cool stuff more often, and have much more fun in the process.
What dreams do you have for young people?
I really love reading examples of high-quality, open-source & accessible education being produced online (both at Maker Ed and worldwide). My dream is that education becomes even more accessible, not only for skills like math and reading, but also other skills that can help young people become advocates for their communities and untangling complex systems.
If you could share one word of advice to give to other makers, what would it be?
One piece of advice that I’m still learning myself is to document your process while making. It can be as simple as taking a few photos at the start, middle, and end of a project/activity. Having things documented is not only helpful as a reference for yourself, but it’s also useful in sharing your work/activities with others!
Are there other makers and/or educators in your community whose work you’d like to promote?
Although I haven’t started posting content on TikTok, I’ve found some really cool maker educators there!
- @karagamii (Origami & Papercrafts enthusiast, Youtube)
- @cameronhughes (Fashion tech designer, Vogue)
- @thegarbagequeen (Sustainability scientist & climate communicator, Eco-Anxiety Resource)
- @Eben Kouao (Hardware engineer, DIY Arduino Robot Arm)
I’d also like to uplift the sketchnoting community that Doug Niell created at Verbal to Visual, which has some really amazing visual thinkers and notetakers.