Engineers and Makers Unite

The Science Maker Expo on Jan. 16 highlighted the work of Hockaday faculty and staff, as well as the creations of students in the Engineering and Design semester course. The class, comprised of mostly seniors, started off the year with a brief overview of coding, as well as a preview of Arduino software and the new 3D printer. Afterwards, the girls moved onto woodworking, with emphasis on learning how to properly use tools like saws, chisels and other carving tools.

Both coding and woodworking prepared the students for their culminating project: to find a solution to any real-world problem using engineering principles. Senior Sara Mustafa chose to create a 3D printer phone case that functioned both a wallet and a case to resolve the problem of having to carry around both a wallet and a phone case.

Not only does Mustafa now have a convenient place to store her both her credit card and phone keys, but she also succeeded in adding her own personal and cultural touch to the phone case with the addition of Arabic calligraphy on the case itself.

Likewise, sophomore Katherine Lake found inspiration in the movie “Up” and chose to create a wooden house with a figurine of a man holding balloons. The finished product took Lake almost two months to build, but she admits that her genuine love of engineering made woodworking seem more like play than actual classwork.

In addition to the Engineering and Design students’ projects, many people were surprised to see Hockaday faculty handicrafts featured at the Maker Expo as well.

Lower School Technology Coordinator Kathy Townsend, for example, saw the Expo as a perfect way to promote her business, Kathy’s Cottage–a thriving company that specializes in making tote bags, pillows, purses and table rudders. One of her business’s most popular items is a clutch made out of a coffee bean bag, which Townsend sells for approximately $65 and takes her three and a half hours to sew. She purchases the grain and coffee bags from antique stores.

The Science Maker Expo served as a showcase of the Engineering and Design students’ talents, as well as those within the larger community. Exposure to engineering made many students realize how well the class prepared them to tackle real-world problems. “One of the most fundamental aspects of engineering is how to improvise when things go wrong,” Mustafa said. “And this experience taught me that.”

  • Eshani Kishore