On June 18, 2014, President Obama hosted the White House Maker Faire, proclaimed a National Day of Making and formally launched his Nation of Makers initiative. This event celebrated the creativity and ingenuity of the Maker community and highlighted a large set of commitments made by federal agencies, foundations, companies, universities, K-12 schools, museums and libraries to develop new programs, partnerships and support for the Maker Movement.
(Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
National Week of Making
In 2015, President Obama declared a National Week of Making (June 12-18). The week included the announcement of new and expanded initiatives from federal agencies and a variety of organizations to broaden participation in making, a series of White House events, including an education roundtable and workshops, open houses and other activities self-organized by the Maker community across the U.S.
(Photo by Ashleigh Axios)
Fighting Ebola Grand Challenge
At the height of the Ebola outbreak, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) partnered with the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Department of Defense to launch Fighting Ebola: A Grand Challenge for Development. The goal of this competition was to crowdsource innovative solutions to specific challenges facing health care workers on the front lines of Ebola. As part of the challenge launch, we hosted a convening in Washington D.C. which brought together more than 100 individuals, including Ebola health care workers and experts, engineers, makers and scientists to begin designing and prototyping solutions.
3D Printed Ornament Design Challenge
In December 2014, the White House and the Smithsonian teamed up to launch the 3D printed ornament design challenge, with the help of Autodesk's Instructables platform. More than 300 designs were submitted and the 5 winning designs were printed and displayed in the East Wing of the White House during the holiday season. These ornaments are now part of the small collection of White House ornaments in the Political History division of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.
Fashion Education Workshop with First Lady Michelle Obama
In October 2014, First Lady Michelle Obama hosted a Fashion Education Workshop at the White House with 150 high school and college students. The workshop had five core themes: technology, construction, entrepreneurship, inspiration and journalism. I organized the technology session, which was facilitated by a team of students and faculty from the Pratt Institute and featured a variety of wearable technologies.
Moore Inventor Fellows
The Moore Inventor Fellows program is a ten-year, $34 million program aimed at supporting early-career innovators with promising inventions addressing pressing issues in science, environmental conservation and patient care. I helped the Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation develop and implement the first year of the program, including the selection and announcement of the first cohort of fellows.
Makers for Global Good Summit
The Makers for Global Good Summit brings together Makers working in high impact areas, ranging from environmental conservation and health to education and the refugee crisis with organizations that could benefit from and support the innovations being developed by these individuals. More than 40 organizations participated in the 2017 Summit, which took place at the Tech Museum of Innovation.
Infy Maker Awards
The Infy Maker Awards, a program created by Infosys Foundation USA, supports individuals with innovative solutions to pressing problems through $10,000 awards designed to help them take their prototypes to the next level. As an advisor to the foundation, I ran the second year of this competition, which included developing a panel of expert judges and overseeing the application selection process.
Information as Craft Workshop
This workshop, which took place at the 2014 iConference in Berlin, examined the ways in which making as a process, contributes to research and the way in which research is a form of conceptual carpentry. Workshop participants were asked to create their own ‘zines centered around the theme of “Information as Craft.” This theme was designed to be broad enough to allow participants to reinterpret and reflect upon it within the context of their own work.