Maker Faire Bay Area 2017

Emily Payne

Attendance of Maker Faire in San Fransisco, CA

For my Artistic/Creative endeavor project I attended a Maker Faire in San Francisco. This is an exciting showcase in which makers from multiple career backgrounds portray new technologies and product innovations. I listened to influential speakers, observed interesting exhibits, and took part in a few fun, hands-on projects.

Having never attended a showcase or a conference such as this before, this experience was new and transformative. Additionally, I had never been to San Francisco before, and I found getting to know a new city and its culture to be eye-opening. Overall, this trip fed my creativity, expanded my perspective, and built up my confidence as an engineer and maker. Through learning about people’s passions and projects it inspired me to pursue my passions in life. Attending the Maker Faire opened my eyes to new ideas, new problems to solve, and new people to learn from. It furthered my path towards becoming a better mechanical engineer and a well-rounded individual.

Listening to Grant Imahara speak, simply being surrounded by so many passionate people at the fair, and taking time to tour areas in San Francisco all contributed to making this a transformative experience. One of the speakers I listened to at the Maker Faire was Grant Imahara. He is an electrical engineer who was on the show MythBusters. His talk kicked off the fair and discussed what being a ‘maker’ meant to him. His words of wisdom really stuck out to me, and they were very valuable to keep in mind as my career as an engineer continues. He stressed the importance of pushing yourself out of your comfort zone, saying that, “each project is an opportunity,” to do so. He also stressed that “failure is part of the process” and that you must not get frustrated but use it as a learning experience to get to where you want. I think these are important lessons for all engineers, because everyone will fail, multiple times, and one must learn how to deal with it effectively.

In addition to the speakers at the Faire contributing to my transformative experience, the people displaying their work and products were just as influential. The Maker Faire is known as the ‘greatest show and tell on earth’; learning about people’s projects and seeing the pride in their work was inspiring. I learned about projects ranging from the R2D2 Builders club, to the Nautilus ocean explorer team, to a personal 3D printer connected to your smart phone. Whether projects were simply for fun or were advertised to consumers, I found it exciting to be surrounded by people who share my goals to use their skills to create products which make a difference.

Lastly, being able to spend time in San Francisco was exciting. I have family in the city who could show me around and tell me what they enjoyed about living there. I found it to be a vibrate place which fostered growth and diversity. On my last day, I went over the Golden Gate Bridge to visit the Redwood National Park. Being able to see that natural wonder was a once in a lifetime opportunity which I am truly grateful for.

To me, change is what the Maker Faire represents and celebrates from year to year. Changes in technology, ways of life, and daily experiences that passionate individuals want to share with others. I want to contribute to the ever-changing world throughout my career as a mechanical engineer. No matter how small, I hope to make an influential change in people’s lives. Attending the Maker Faire helped further my skills to achieve this goal, allowing me to grow professionally, intellectually, and individually. Over the course of the fair, I expanded my knowledge of many fields, and I can now apply that knowledge to my own projects and organizations I am involved in. The change I experienced over the course of this project plays a significant role in building the foundation I have started through my education, allowing me to reach my goal to be an effective mechanical engineer.