I believe that hands-on projects inspire an exciting and fulfilling learning process which develops problem solving and creativity. I not only enjoy this process for myself, but am committed to helping others develop their own maker skills.
As a kid, instead of playing video games or watching TV, I'd make things. As I got older I realized this was because I absolutely love learning by doing. When choosing a project, I'll pick a skill I dont have (like knitting for instance) and then I pick a project that will force me to learn that skill (like making a hat). I rarely create a perfect product the first time around, or even the tenth time. But, I learn so much in the process when I'm forced to do a task I'm sort of clueless about that I think I've become addicted to this process.
Over the years, I've managed to accumulate a number of these skills, and I've worked on a number of diverse projects. Some of them were useful, some were not. Some of them were successful, most were not. However they turn out though, I always learn a ton.
This process not only kept me busy and entertained as a kid, but it has also contributed greatly to my professional development. In my hands-on engineering courses at Harvey Mudd College, I feel that I am leaps and bounds ahead in terms of problem solving skills and the ability to learn how to do things that weren't covered in lecture, because I've been teaching myself how to learn new things my whole life.
I also love sharing this passion with others. At Harvey Mudd College, I am co-president of the makerspace on campus. We provide the knowledge, tools, community, facility, and funding for students to create whatever they want. With a few other friends, I organize and lead workshops to help students learn skills like Arduino, SolidWorks, CNC tools, and PCB design. I also help organize Harvey Mudd's annual hardware hackathon, which brings over 150 students together for one night to work on cool and innovative projects.