Fontichiaro to exhibit at national maker faire

Kristin Fontichiaro

UMSI Clinical Assistant Professor of Information Kristin Fontichiaro and second-year MSI student Amber Lovett will demonstrate Maker Movement tools and activities at one of 30 exhibits at the Capitol Hill Maker Faire, held June 11 in Washington, DC. 

The Maker Movement seeks to empower students and adults to create, innovate, and tinker by learning programming, prototyping, game design, paper crafts, comics, sewing, and using technologies such as Raspberry Pi and 3D printers.

Capitol Hill Maker Faire is a small, issues-focused event aimed at highlighting the Maker Movement and its continuing growth across the country. The event is geared toward members of Congress, their staff, families, and Capitol Hill visitors. It is hosted by the Institute of Museum & Library Sciences and Make Media.

Fontichiaro and Lovett’s exhibit at the Capitol Hill Maker Faire will highlight some of the activities offered through the Michigan Makers program, which Fontichiaro established with UMSI graduate students. 

Michigan Makers sponsors a number of programs and events that use research and service learning to explore teaching, learning, and skill-building in non-classroom settings. 

Amber Lovett

Fontichiaro and Lovett are planning to demonstrate Squishy Circuits and Dash & Dot robots to event-goers. Squishy Circuits uses two different types of dough as circuit-building materials to teach kids about circuits and electronics, and Dash & Dot robots are designed to teach kids about problem solving, coding, and computer programming.

Fontichiaro recently received a $500,000 award from IMLS to grow professional development and support for makerspace learning and innovation programs in Michigan.

She is working with UMSI Assistant Professor Silvia Lindtner to partner with host libraries and their communities in high-poverty rural areas across Michigan to convene multi-day workshops for librarians, civic leaders, service organizations, business leaders, and others.

The workshops will help attendees develop familiarity with maker tools and processes and demonstrate how to build a sustainable structure around local needs and resources, create community partnerships, and acquire innovative and inspiring tools.

Fontichiaro and Lindtner will also host campus and virtual workshops, with the overarching goal of the project to develop a strong and sustainable network with libraries as a hub for entrepreneurial and innovative practices that can encourage participants to strive for academic and career development and even an entrepreneurial future.

Capitol Hill Maker Faire will be followed by a “Week of Making” at the nation’s capital, which includes a National Maker Faire on June 12-13 and a number of other maker activities featuring participation from several federal agencies. 

Posted June 2, 2015