The BOM : Episode 9: Girls Garage Founder Emily Pilloton-Lam

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This month, we are exploring the theme of Education in Design and Technology, and the ways in which educators and students are changing the world through innovation. To kick off this theme, we are joined by the brilliant designer, builder, author and educator Emily Pilloton-Lam.  

Emily is the Founder and Executive Director of the nonprofit Girls Garage. She has taught thousands of young girls how to use power tools, weld, and build projects for their communities. She has presented her work and ideas on the TED stage, The Colbert Report, and in the documentary film If You Build It. She was also a 2020 Hackaday Prize Judge. She is currently a lecturer in the College of Environmental Design at the University of California, Berkeley, and lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Girls Garage is a nonpro fit design and construction school for girls and gender-expansive youth ages 9-18 that provides free and low-cost programs in carpentry, welding, architecture, engineering, and activist art to a diverse community of 300 students per year. Integrating technical skills, unconditional support, and community leadership, their programs equip youth with the personal power and literal power tools to build the world they want to see. In their 3,600-square-foot workshop in Berkeley and under the guidance of their highly skilled all-female and nonbinary instructors, they invite students to bring their creative voice and put technical skills to work on real-world building projects that live in their community. To date, participants have built 184 projects ranging from furniture for a domestic abuse shelter to a greenhouse for a community garden and fruit stand for an organization serving refugee families. All teen participants attend the program at no cost to their families. In short, Girls Garage is making a tangible difference through the power of accessible education.

You can follow @Supplyframe and @Hackaday on Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Twitter, and @SupplyframeDesignLab on Instagram and Twitter.

The BOM is a Supplyframe podcast hosted by Majenta Strongheart, written, produced, and edited by Frank Driscoll and co-edited by Daniel Ferera. Executive producers are Ryan Tillotson and Tyler Nielsen. Theme music is by Ana Hogben, with show art by Thomas Schneider. Special thanks to Giovanni Salinas, Bruce Dominguez, Thomas Woodward, Jin Kumar, Jordon Clark, Matt Gunn, the entire Supplyframe Team, and you, our wonderful listeners.

The BOM (or “bill of materials”) is a weekly Supplyframe DesignLab Podcast hosted by Head of Design & Partnerships Majenta Strongheart. Each week, through digestible conversations with the world’s leading innovators, hackers, and entrepreneurs, Majenta and her guests explore the future of how hardware projects are built and brought to market, investigate technological solutions to the world's toughest challenges, help bridge the gap between makers, startups, and investors, and celebrate the transformational power of design. Presented by Supplyframe DesignLab

Episode transcripts

The year after year. The thingsthat keep me going are number one,
forever and always, the young peoplethat I get to work with in a
way and in a space that feelslike so precious. Welcome back to the
bomb. This month we're exploring thetheme of Education in design and technology and
the ways in which educators and studentsare changing the world through innovation. To
kick off this theme, we're joinedby the brilliant designer, builder, author
and Educator Emily Pillitson Lamp. Emilyis the founder and Executive Director of the
nonprofit girls garage. She's taught thousandsof young girls how to use power tools,
weld and build projects for their communities. She was also hackday prize judge.
She's currently a lectured in the Collegeof Environmental Design at the University of
California Berkeley and lives in the SanFrancisco Bay area. Girls Garage is a
nonprofit design and construction school for Girlsand gender expanse of Youth Ages nine to
eighteen that provides free and low costprograms at carpentry, welding, architecture,
engineering and activist art to a diversecommunity of three hundred students per year,
integrating technical skills, unconditional support andcommunity leadership. And there's three thousand six
hundred square but workshop in Berkeley andunder the guidance that they're highly skilled all
female non binary instructors, they invitestudents to bring their creative voice and to
technical skills to work on real worldbuilding projects live in their community. To
date, participants have built a hundredand eighty four projects, ranging from furniture
for a domestic aview shelter to agreenhouse for a community garden and fruit stand
for an organization serving refugee family.All team participants attend the program at no
cost to their families. In short, girls garage is making a tangible difference
through the power of accessible education.Let's dive it. Welcome to the bomb,
emily. Thank you so much forjoining us today. I'm so excited
to be chatting with you after somany months. I feel like sort of
apart Um. I haven't seen youin person. I'm trying to remember,
since I think Um, but I'ma huge fan of your work, as
you know. Honestly, I thinkabout girls garage and I'm so jealous that
I didn't grow up with that.I'm from the city that you're working out
of, and I always think aboutjust how awesome it would have been to
be able to have participated in yourprogramming, but I'm glad that I get
to be a part of it nowas a supporter and, Um, in
all the ways that we're going tobe working together in the future. So
I will pass it off to you. How are you doing this morning?
I'm doing great. Um. It'sbeen, you know, quite a year,
quite a couple, a couple ofyears, and we're just coming off
of a five week Sabbatical as astaff, which was really really incredible and
an important thing to do to supporteach other, um. And so we're
getting ready for a really, reallyfull summer of building and it's my favorite
time of year. There's like alaundry list of about seventy five things to
do, Um. And Yeah,it's just it's a time of the year
where I feel the potential and thehope of all the things that are about
to happen over the summer and allthe young people were about to welcome into
our space. So it's all good. We're doing great. That's awesome.
So I'm familiar with girls garage work, but I would love to hear in
your words what you all are allabout. I know that you provide incredible
programming for community of Young Women inGender Expansive Youth in different aspects around fabrication,
building, making, welding, allthe things, but I would love
to hear more detail how you definewhat girls garage is all about. Sure,
UM, Gosh, girls garage isso the nuts and bolts of it
pun intended Um. And we'RE ANON WE'RE A nonprofit, we're based in
Berkeley, California and we serve acommunity of about three hundred young people per
year. They come to us afterschool over the summer, Um and they
come to us for years and years. That if it's such an incredible like
gift that we get to to workwith students for so many years. Um.
They can come to us as earlyas nine years old and they can
stay with us until they graduate fromhigh school, although there's an asterisk there
too, because we often invite themback as interns or junior counselors Um.
But the basic idea behind girls garageis that Um as a physical space,
we welcome young people who identify asfemale or gender expansive to learn skills in
carpentry or welding or architecture or design, build Um that are representative of the
idea that we can build the worldwe want to see. And so for
some students that means, you know, quite literally, like I want to
be a carpenter, I would liketo learn how to do carpentry. Um.
For other students it's much more metaphorical, like I just want to do
a thing that makes me feel powerfulin my own body. Um. For
other students it's I don't even knowwhat it is, but I know I
want to be in a community ofother young people and surrounded by adults who
care about me. Um. Andso it's all those things. We we
don't purport to be sending like thousandsof kids into the trades, although some
of them do go into the trades. We have many students that go into
engineering or architecture or other UM,other segments of the built environment. But
more than anything, and really ona daily basis, if you were to
walk into girls garage, it feelslike a really inviting, beautiful and creative
space, Um led by women andnon binary professionals and a pretty incredible group
of young people who show up tobuild projects that are meaningful to them and
that are meaningful to their community,that actually live in the world and,
Um, serve other people in thecommunity. Awesome. I love that you
called out not just the technical kindof education and skills that you all um
give your your community, but alsothe aspect of like empowerment from making yourself,
making something yourself, building, designing, figuring out how something is made,
whether it's reverse engineering the thing orlearning as you go how you're going
to make it work. Um.That's something I talk about a bunch with
my uh colleagues and friends who aremakers and designers and artists and things like.
It's just so incredibly empowering to likewield a tool effectively and see something
go from an idea to a functioningwhatever it is, you know, a
table or a hardware device or Um, you know, just to sort of
see the whole process that like youcan make that happen, you can bring
it into existence, is Um.It's so powerful. Yeah, that's so
so okay, that's interesting. Yousay that, because there is UM.
There's this delicate balance that I alwaysfeel between wanting to talk about how girls
garage empowers students versus or maybe andalso teaches really technical skills. And I
guess the two caveats I have tothat are one, that the word empower
is like a little bit of aMiss Gnomer, because I think that empowering
something means giving power to something thatis powerless. And actually I think what
happens at girls garage is that studentswalk in and they already have that power.
They just don't have the space orsupport to exercise it, and so
for less valuable power so much aslike setting it on fire. And so
that's one. The other thing,and this or this reminded me because I
was at a tool expo last weekand I was talking to one of the
vendors and, Um, he said, Oh, what do you do?
And I said, Oh, Irun this thing called girls garage and we
teach young women in Gender Expansive YouthX Y Z, and his response was
something to the effect of Oh,yeah, that's so important to empower girls,
and I was like, yes,that is, I understand what you're
saying, but the way he saidit was like, oh, that's so
cute, good job for making themfeel like they can do like super condescending
yeah, and and part of mewas like, you know, what actually
our staff has an average of fifteenyears experience in the trades and we're building
like really high fidelity projects and everystudent knows every term for every tool and
can execute it perfectly. And sothere is this thing about like, yes,
it's about confidence, but the wayin which we teach. I really
do believe that young people are capableof super high level construction, created pivity,
teamwork, and so there is there'salso a standard to what we do
and so we're not I'm not aboutlike playing around with pipe cleaners, like
we're going to build a five structureand it's going to be well engineered and
well designed and thoughtful architecturally. Andthat is also part of the confidence,
the confidence that youth can point tosomething and say I built that thing.
By the way, it was indwell magazine and it's an idea that came
from this group of young people.So that's kind of the balance I'm always
trying to to weigh. Is,like I wanted to be about confidence and
empowerment, but not at the expenseof an understanding that young people can do
incredible technical, high fidelity work.I'm just like absolutely, I just sort
of like snapps that I want toteach shirt that says it's not about giving
power, it's about setting it onfire. I love that. I think
of girls garage as a space where, like, no one's going to be
in your yes, I think that'sawesome and so important. Um, this
is something I talked about a lotwith my design friends. You know,
what is the responsibility of the designerto care about society and the environment and
to incorporate that into that into theirwork. So, of course, in
my most ideal world, every designerwould be responsible for and beholden to some
set of ethics. Um, todo no harm, to not make climate
change worse, to provide housing,shelter, to help those who need the
most resources, etcetera. Um,I mean there are plenty of of professions,
like medicine, that have something likethe hippocratic oath that says these are
our ethics. Um, design doesn'thave that, and so we are sort
of on our own in our ownpractices to decide what those ethics are.
And UH, there's no governing bodythat's going to tell any you know,
residential architectural office building, third homesfor billionaires that they have to do things
a certain way. Um, Idon't think that it's that I have the
power to tell them to do that, but I know in my own practice
and certainly in a lot of Um, younger architects and designers practices, that's
it's increasingly not just important but impossibleto ignore. I mean there's so many
I don't know how you can wakeup in the morning and not think,
okay, I have this tool setas an architect, as a designer,
as a builder, look around andthere are so many different things you can
put it towards that yield a positive, positive impact for other people. I
don't know why you wouldn't want todo that work. Um, it's harder,
but it's more important, it's morerewarding. Um, it's more complex.
I think it keeps you inspired inyour own work. So for for
me, that's why it's important tome. I think within girls garage there's
you know, we we do doprojects that are pretty frivolous sometimes, like,
especially with the young students, likeyeah, let's build a bird house,
yeah, let's build a bedside tablefor for your bedroom, um,
but those are really just stepping stonesto these larger those are really about skill
building and safety. Um, toget to a point where we can build
projects of consequence, and I thinkthat is the term. I think about
building stuff, things, spaces,projects for the community in two ways.
One is the sort of obvious,like we can be of service UM outwardly,
we can build something that will helpsomeone else. But secondly, for
students, I think that doing projectsthat have consequence. I don't mean that
in a negative way, but aconsequence where you understand that the actions you
take have an impact in the world. That connection really solidifies the meaning of
the work for someone. Um,you make a decision about the design of
something very differently when you're just goingto take it home and give it to
your mom, versus someone's going tolive in this thing, or this thing
has to house a hundred chickens safelyso they don't get eaten by coyotes.
Um. There there are consequences andI think those things actually mean a lot
to young people. It means alot to be given the responsibility, Um,
to build something that can make adifference and that also helps them make
decisions Um, really thoughtfully and aboutthe project and in their own lives.
So maybe you could tell us alittle bit more about two or three projects
that are recent or current that youthink really exemplify Um sort of the social
impact work that you all are doingat girl's garage? Yeah, I'll give
a couple. So one of ourprojects from two summers ago, as one
of our most ambitious, we builta five hundred square foot chicken pavilion.
I'M gonna call it a pavilion becausechicken coope is just like not the right
scale. Um. This is afarm structure for an urban farm near US
called Urban Tilth, and they area really incredible organization that promotes urban agriculture
and provides um CSA boxes and Umdoes really, really wonderful community based agricultural
work. So we built the structurethat lives on their farm. Um.
It houses a hundred chickens. Ithas this huge chicken run and this enclosed
shed with this big roof and thesliding barn door, and that was one
of our most ambitious and most funprojects. We built that project with our
advanced design build cohort Um and reallyat the peak of the pandemic in June
we were out on the construction siteUm, which we were able to do
because construction was one of the onlyone of the first things they allowed to
resume Um and I think that projectreally proved to students that we could do
great things. And we had doneprojects before them. We've built parklets,
we'd built like small structures, greenhouses, but there's something about the scale of
that project, like hoisting six byten beams twenty ft in the air using
only our muscles and ladders. Um. There was something about the scope of
it that I think really elevated whatstudents believed was possible. And then last
summer we built a greenhouse for middleschool, local middle school that has a
very cool program that promotes Um,both entrepreneurship and also growing your own food.
Um. And then in August we'retaking a group of students, also
our advanced group, on our firsttravel, travel construction trip, which is
to Vermont. Um. We're takingtwelve of them to yestermorrow design build school,
which is a really great school inRural Vermont. They teach all kinds
of construction trades and design Um andwe're partnering with them and the Vermont Transit
Authority to build a public bus stop. And this structure is it's about seven
by fourteen feet. It went througha whole design process. We did a
lot of Um, of sketching,of prototyping, of design development, of
figuring out like the context of buildinga bus stop in Vermont versus in the
Bay area. Um, who usesbus stops in Vermont? Um. There's
also a partnership with a ARP.So there's like a whole conversation about making
public transit more accessible, Um,to seniors. So this this project has
been especially interesting because we're doing itfrom afar and we've had to take a
lot of leaps and sort of educatedguesses about how this is going to play
out in the context that we haven'tyet been privy to. Um. So
it's an exciting process for students.It's also a little bit of a leap
of faith, Um, and I'venever taken twelve teenagers on a plane before,
so we will see how that goes. But we have a great AIRBNB.
Vermont is supposed to beautiful in Augustand I'm really, really excited for
that. Yeah, I was gonnasay I have a couple of friends in
Vermont and it always looks gorgeous.So it's going to be a beautiful trip
and I'm excited to see the progressupdates on the Graham as you guys tackle
that and yeah, I think thatit's important. Honestly, it's important perspective
for Um, for your team,to see to work through that process of
sort of like remote design and build, you know, working for a project
that's offside, like way offside,in another state, because that's so much
of what I mean, I think, so much of what a lot of
design work is, you know,like a lot of professional designers have to
do that in practice. But alsoI think it's becoming just more and more
kind of the normal since Um,since the pandemic of course, and so
people are working um remotely, collaborativelyand in these hybrid kind of in between
spaces and oftentimes when you are workingwith other partners, nonprofit organizations, government
organizations, it's not always you're alwaysgoing to be able to be in the
same place at the same time throughoutthe whole process. So I think that's
great insight that Um that you're you'readvanced builders are getting. Yeah, it
really it's been very interesting too,like there is there's some really interesting conversations
we have with students about, like, here's an example, one of the
elements we want to include in thisbus stop is this I'll call it like
a countertop. It's almost like awalk up window, like there's just a
small counter space that bridges two ofthe posts Um in the bus stop and
someone could stand on either side ofit. You could rest your coffee there.
It looks a little bit like asmall counter and we mentioned to students
that Oh, this could be afun sort of ad hoc pop up space,
like if anyone ever wanted to sellflowers or produce or have a pop
up whatever, and a lot ofthe students were like, well, but
who would manage it? Like howwould that work? What are the logistics
of that? And they're asking suchgood questions because they care so much about
this thing working. But then italso triggers this conversation about like how much
do we really control and how much? Why don't we control? Versus,
how much can we just design somethingthat's really, really thoughtful and know that
once it's in the world it's goingto be used in the way that people
want to use it? And Ithink that's been an important conversation to have
with students Um to also leave someof the burden. It feels like like
we're building this thing and it's soperfect and everything has to be perfect.
But also we can only do somuch, like we can only do so
much as designers before the world takesit and runs with it, and that
is out there and kind of beautifultoo. Absolutely there was a fun account
I used to follow that was basicallylike, Um, I can't remember what
they called it, but like designhacks, where it was sort of like,
oh, that's not really how youuse that, but you know,
the designer intended one thing and thenit's out in the world and that's what
people are gonna do, is whatthey want right in one words, is
crazy, like just sticking a chairunder a door as a doorstop. That
always cracks me up, like that'swhat always comes to mind when I think
about that sort of Um uh,that part of being a designer where you're
just like now it's out in theworld and you can't really control what happens
to it, Um but, likeyou said, you can just try to
sort of plant the seeds of what'spossible there, make it great at doing
the things you see it doing andthen I hope for the best at a
certain point. Yeah, and ofcourse no one's trying to design like you
know Soda Cans, six pack holdersthat are going to go and strangle ducks
like we're not. There's there,of course, unintended consequences that are really
detrimental Um, but it's it's alsoreally refreshing talking to a group of young
people who are so thoughtful and likethey just they care so deeply about how
this thing is going to live inthe world. And even though I'm like,
it's fine, it'll be fine,like, I understand where that feeling
comes from, and I do thinka lot of them, who have been
with us for so long, we'vealso trained them to think that way,
that that the things we do dohave consequence. So I tell myself that
that's actually Um. They're they're thinkingthe way that they should Um, and
we're gonna get there and we're gonnabuild it and it's going to be in
the world and we're gonna hope forthe best. Could you tell us about
any sort of barriers to entry you'veever felt and how you overcame them,
or any words of advice you havein this regard for women, Feminine Binary
Individuals to approach these spaces and andfeel Um less overwhelmed? Maybe if they
are, I think there's two answersto this question. One is there are
all the barriers and the other isthat there are no barriers, and I
think I've felt both ways. Likethere is certainly a story to be told,
especially in the construction trades, Um, where women face incredible barriers.
There are, you know, everythingfrom daily micro aggressions to, you know,
safety gear not fitting you correctly tostraight up sexual harassment. Um,
there are serious barriers for a lotof women in these spaces. But on
the other side of things, Ithink there were barriers, but they didn't
ever stop me. Like, ofcourse there were things that came up,
like I didn't know how to starta nonprofit. Um, I didn't know
how to hire my first employee.Uh, there were some tools I didn't
know how to use three years agothat I know how to use now.
But I don't actually know that thoseare barriers so much as just like,
that is what I signed up forand those are the things I had to
learn. Um. That said that, there are definitely barriers for youth and
I think it's very hard for meto distinguish some days which things are my
barriers and which are theirs. Whenyou have a space that welcomes young people
as as their fullest selves. Youare also signing up to carry and honor
and help process a lot of thebarriers that they walk in the door with.
There's one type of barrier that Ilove and that is when something comes
up that validates the reason why girlsgarage exists. And I don't love that
these things happen, but they're kindof easy to get over because you're like,
well, this is why we dowhat we do. So I'd love
to talk about you know, youmentioned that some of these barriers to entry
can some to be re motivating andinspiring, but I'm sure you get awesome
inspiration from other places as well.I'd love to hear what technology outside of
your expertise is inspiring at the moment. And then what's one more creative thing.
and honestly, there's no reason theseare like mutually exclusive. They could
be combined into a creative technology thing. But one type of technology that's inspiring
you at the moment and then onetype of not technology thing that's inspiring at
the moment, not electronics device,I guess, is what we think of
when we think of technology. Youknow, a book, a piece of
Art, and exhibit something experiential thatyou've been inspired by recently. This is
not a technology that is even remotelycontemporary or new, but, um,
we recently got a rhyso graph printerat girls garage. I love Razo graph.
I was a rathograph apprentice for twoyears and or sorry, not,
I was an offset apprentice, butwe used Rizo graph as part of that.
Yeah, and it's so I don'tknow if this cow you know,
it's definitely not high or new tech, but Um, it's such an interesting
medium and as a person who hasknown screen printing for a while, Um,
and also has used a xerox machinein the past, it's been really
fun to play with the Riazo aslike just like as a new tool in
the girl's garage space, like inthe same way as if we got a
CNC router or Um, you know, new tables. It's it's such an
interesting technology. Yeah, and italso, like I love any technology that
forces your brain to think in away that it doesn't naturally think in,
and the Rizziograph is kind of acombination of screen printing and Xerox ng where
you have to think in layers andlike, not just in layers and how
they overlay, but also in theorder in which you're going to print them.
And it's so it's been really,really fun. Um. So I
like those, those types of technologythat are like brain calisthenics, um,
but still create, like still makingsomething and then, Um Gosh, something
else. I mean I am likea serial hobbyist. I I was so
deep into baking Um during the pandemic. I took up rug tufting. Recently,
Um, I discovered this like ancientpractice of making mud balls called Doro
Dango. I am a very firmbeliever that you should not turn your hobbies
into your career because it ruins them. So, you know, I have
not, I have yet to bringmud balls into the girl's garage curriculum,
but we did do a rug tuftingclass with our protests and print students.
It was so fun. So Idefinitely, like, I love trying new
creative things and new media, Um, especially ones that are like very methodical,
like give me one hundred and fiftysteps and I will execute them perfectly.
I know that's not everyone's cup oftea, but some of them make
their way into girl's garage. Others, I like kind of guard as my
precious thing. But yeah, I'malways on the lookout for a new random,
uh, fun and creative activity.I love that and can totally relate.
Um. So, speaking of futuregirls garage programming, what are some
of the goals you have for thenext you can choose the time span.
I'm like, I don't want toput a uh, you know, like
number on it. That feels arbitraryor something. But if you want to
say, you know, in thenext year or before the end of this
year, or goals you have forthe next five years, if you're thinking
about that, um, that you'reexcited about and feel like sharing. Yeah,
I get this question a lot and, Um, I think one I'll
start with what I think people expectme to say that I am definitely not
going to say, which is,uh, I do not have the goal
of having a girl's garage in everycity in the country or world, not
because I don't think that it woulddo well. Um, I just think
that so much of it happens atgirls garage is very place based and really
personal and intimate, and that's whatmakes great. So, Um, I
think like, as an overarching themefor the future, we want to do
more of what we do, butbetter and deeper. Um. And so
a couple like pretty specific things.One is, within let's say two years,
two to three years, I wouldlove to expand our space. Um,
I would really love to own ourown building. So we're in this
space right now that is really beautifuland it's been very good to us.
It's a big open shop plan spacewith a mezzanine upstairs, about thirty square
feet, but we're kind of outgrowing it. Um. There's some new
capabilities we want to bring in thatwe just do not have room for,
Um, and so I want toI want to grow the space. I
would like for that space to bea permanent home. That's sort of a
signal to our community that says we'rehere, we're gonna be here, you
can depend on us, we're afixture of this community. Um. That's
certainly one thing. And then Ihave this pipe dream that I'm going to
just keep saying until it's somehow manifests. I would really love to have a
sort of cyclical process where we acquirea home and then we flip it using
a construction crew only of our teenageyouth, and then the proceeds of its
sale go into their college funds andthen we're able to recoup the principal amount
and keep doing this over and overand over again. So that's my us.
So it's not the most feasible inthe bay area, but you know,
I just need one semi dilapidated houseto start the process. Um,
and you know, I just thinkthat I feel like it can happen.
Yeah, I'm glad you're just puttingit out there. Yeah, someday,
Um, yeah, and then,you know, I think if I've learned
any thing over the past fourteen years, it's that there's I always try to
leave a little bit of space forthe unknown awesome thing that is just around
the corner, and I've never beenable to predict it, like I'm going
to write a book, or we'regonna hire two more awesome people this year,
or there's a horrible pandemic coming,but we're gonna find like one or
two little specs of hope within it. Like there's always of the future plan
that is purposely a blank page.That is so smart. I talked about
that a lot with folks too,about just like it's great to have a
plan, benchmarks, you know you'reworking towards and whatever. But I think
it's super key to leave a littlebit of room for the unknown and for
opportunities that arise, because sometimes thoseare, Um, the most exciting,
your most perfect in the moment thatyou don't you couldn't have planned for because
you didn't know about them, youcouldn't have even thought of them. Yeah,
that's awesome. Well, I alsolove that you're thinking about sort of
it sounds like, you know,quality over quantity in a way, as
far as the scaling of Girls Garage, that you're not thinking about this as
an organization, that Um is goingto have little nodes all over the country
or something like that, but howyou can really just dig deeper in your
in your local work, and buildUm more robust programming for the bay area
community, and I think that's awesomeand usually uncommon. So it's cool to
hear of a different a different wayof thinking about those things. Yeah,
thanks. So sort of last BinaliUm. So you've spoken about Um.
You know different ways that you stayinspired in this work and but also you
know the challenges that you face indoing these sorts of things and also wearing
so many hats. I'm sure thatuh, I don't know. I shouldn't
say this, but you know,there's opportunities for burnout sometimes when you're doing
so different, so many different thingsand taking on so much. Um,
how do you, uh, youknow, just keep sort of going and
keep just excelling, I feel like, you know, striving for greatness in
this realm. What is on yourpersonal kind of bill of materials? What
gets you? You can interpret thishowever you want. What gets you going,
gets you through the week, getsyou through day, gets you out
of bed? Um, yeah,yeah, oh my goodness. Um.
Well, literally, the thing thatusually gets me out of bed is my
dog every morning, who I wakeup and her face is like right there.
Um, that's a good way towake up. Um. But you
know, I think year after year, the things that keep me going are
number one, forever and always,the young people that I get to work
with. And I say this aslike a almost as like a quasi parental
feeling, like there are so manystudents that have come to girls garage who
I've known from age nine, two, eighteen or now they're like nineteen or
twenty. And I was talking toa teacher friend of mine who teaches ninth
grade and she said. You know, I don't even get to experience that
because I have a kid for oneyear and then they move on. I
don't ever get to see a studentyear after year after year after year.
And it occurred to me like that. It is such a privilege, like,
unless you are a parent, Um, and I do have to step
kids. I feel this way aboutthem too, but it does feel like
such a rare thing to get tobear witness to a kid's life for that
many years and in a in away and in a space that feels like
so precious. Um. So that, Um, I mean I have students
who like invite me to their birthdayparties and like I know all their astrological
signs and I send them birthday cardsand they send me birthday card and it
just feels so like loving and nurturingin that way. Um. That's the
first thing. And then the secondthing is the incredible women I work with,
like I cannot even I don't knowwhat I did in another life to
deserve the coworking environment that I thatI get to work in every day,
like I work with. Well,there are four of us full time and
then another seven part time instructors andlike seriously, every single one of these
people. I would be a bride'sperson for. I would probably take a
bullet for, like really, theyare such incredible humans I'm gonna Start crying
like they they've also been a partof my life and our work for so
long. Like most of them havebeen there from since the beginning. There
isn't this like revolving door of volunteersor instructors, and so we've really all
built this together, Um, andthat feeling of like, yes, I'm
the spokesperson and yes, I'm thefounder, but like we, I didn't
do this alone, like we builtthis whole thing together. And on days
when I'm just like, Oh myGod, I have to go do these
ten things, I'm like, well, but I get to do five of
them with Augusta, or like threeof them with Bethany or, like I
get to spend an hour with Christie, and like those things feel so um,
rejuvenating, like really restoring in spirit, of course, and I think
that it's also, you know,I just want to acknowledge that it's also
a reflection and Um, yeah,a reflection of what you put into it
and what you bring to the table, I'm sure, and how you approach
how you've approached, you know,building this organization over the last fourteen years.
So crudous to you as well.Um. So, just before we
go, want to give the opportunityto do any shameless plugs for girls garage.
How can people get involved? Whatare you all working on? I
know you recently had a big fundraiser. I don't know if it's still going
on, but you're welcome to shoutthat out. You have a book,
as you mentioned. Um. Sowhat are the ways people can support?
Yeah, thanks. Um. Okay. So obviously the most the most common
answer to this for any nonprofit isthat we always need donations. Um,
but I will tell you exactly why, because the cost of a two by
four is anywhere from three to twelvedollars, depending on the market, and
we use probably close to two thousandof them a year. Um. We
do our best to reclaim things,but our material costs are significant just because
of the nature of what we do. So, Um, you can make
tax deductible donations. We write handwrittenthank you notes to every person who gives
us a cent. Um, andwe really love all of our donors.
Our current campaign that's going on isto support Um the construction of the pride
parade float, and all of thisis um linked from our website. So
that's the first thing. Um.The second thing is we I can't I've
never thought of ourselves as like asocial media like entity. Um, but
we really do love telling stories viaour instagram. So you can follow us
on instagram and connect with us thatway. We love like sharing our stories
and then hearing back from people likewhat it has inspired them to build or
do or whatever. Um We alsohave we don't have like a formal volunteer
program just because there's a lot oflike safety and Um liability things connected to
that for construction. But Um,we do. We always love to connect
people with people who either work inthe Industry Um, work at companies that
might be able to support us insome way, um, or who just
work in fields and have an interestingstory they'd like to share with our students.
So we really we like being ableto pair our students with Um,
specifically women who work in the fieldsand can share their stories. And then
there's the book. We got alot of good swag. Um. You
can come visit us, you cantell a friend at a dinner party about
us, and on and on.Yeah, awesome. Yes, I can
attest to the instagram content being excellent. I love girl garage stories and posts
and always find and learn something newon there. And I've also gotten some
cool I got a cool Rizzo posterfrom you all at one point. I
can't remember if it was I thinkmaybe it was a donation gift or something,
but that was awesome and I don'tknow if you guys sell those,
but they're very fun. The tool, the tool poster and awesome. So
the tool poster you can get.And Yeah, I also want to shout
out that, yes, the materialsare super expensive and so definitely need to
support because of that. But youalso provide some amazing scholarship opportunities to your
youth, and so that's another reasonI think everyone should Um. If they
need any more inspiration or motivation todonate and support Um, that's only possible,
I think you know, because ofthe money you guys raised, and
that's really awesome. To make theprogramming more accessible to more more students and
more different types of youth. Soall of our programming for team students is
free. Um All, no matterwhat, no matter where they come from.
Um, we don't charge for thatprogramming. Um. And actually,
on top of that, every teenparticipant who comes to girls garage is gifted
a gigantic toolbox full of tools.Um. It's like a five dollar value
Um drill driver, saw tape measure, like twenty different tools, Um that
we gift to students so that they'reable to practice and identify as builders,
like not just when there are girlsgarage but when they're at home too.
So so that's also Um. We'rewe're a very expense heavy organization just because
of the material nature of what wedo and Um, and because our programming
is free and we're really, reallycommitted to that. Well, thank you
so much, emily, for takingthe time. I know you do a
million things, so really appreciate theconversation today and everyone should definitely get involved
with girls garage support however they can. It's an incredible organization and definitely you
and your organization Um, our hugerole models to myself and my work and,
like I said, I wish thatI had learned about you all sooner,
but I'm so happy to be ableto work with you all now and
looking forward to the rest of theawesome projects you all put out this year
and staying in touch about all thosethings. So thank you again and I
hope you have an awesome rest ofyour week. Thank you so much.
Thanks so much for giving us aplatform to tell our story and spread the
word. We're back with another designlab be brief. I'm joined by Bruce
Dominguez, are rapid prototyping technician,and unfortunately this week we're not joined with
Geo. He is out with hisnew baby that just arrived, but he'll
be back on the next episode.Congratulations again to Geo and baby Luca and
Um, our newest design lab teammember. We'll see. We got to
put him the work. Just kiddingUm. And we're excited to be talking
about education in design and hardware andsort of all things steam. We actually
just had it's been sort of afunky couple of weeks because I've been out
of the lab for a bit,traveling for Hackney Prize workshops, and Bruce
has been holding down the Fort andhad some special guests, I believe,
last week or the week before,that are very relevant to our conversation.
We had steam coders, which isa summer camp for youth in the past
Mina in l a area and theyget to learn how to code. How
was that, Bruce? That wasgreat. I mean the kids. I
was really shocked they were really followingalong. UH, they weren't disruptive or
running around not paying attention. Iwas blown away just how how engaged they
were. Yeah, they find away to make it fun, for sure.
This is like the fourth or fifthsummer we've had steam coders, campers
come through the lab and it's alwaysfun to get different kind of energy in
the space and they're always super curiousabout the machines we have. And I
think the something that's so huge aboutintroducing you know, Um fabrication and design
and technology in education, Um tostudents that you know an early ages that
sometimes it can be a lot morekind of dynamic and engaging because it can
be more hands on. And Iknow I can speak for myself when I
said that was definitely the more interestingstuff when I was growing up was anything
I could build with my hands or, you know, break apart and learn
more about. So girls garage isa super awesome resource in the bay area.
I wish it was everywhere. Itwas. Honestly, I appreciate that
Emily doesn't want to turn it intothis massive, you know um organization that,
yeah, franchise that takes over.But I'm also like Ah, but
I want, you know, youthall over to be able to experience that.
So hopefully people will just be inspiredby the idea and they can create
their own versions in their communities.But I'm totally like, you know,
a kid in a candy shop whenI visit their space and we'll put a
kind of shameless plug to donate.If anyone else believes in this kind of
programming and for people who maybe wantto share this with their kids or they
don't have access to a space likethis in their area, I think there
are a lot of great resources onlineand there are also a lot of awesome
robotics projects out there that are forteaching steam to youth, steam topics to
youth. Um that we have actuallyon Hacky Day. I Oh, we've
had some finalists in the past ofthe Hackaday prize that have developed intro to
robotics or intro to Saturn kind ofprojects, some notable ones or small cat
Um Bah Blah Blah. There wasalso this cool these little like emotive cubes
that would help kids learn how tocode. That were called the IFS and
all that's on Hackaday I o,which is great, Um, a great
tool for for folks who want tobring this into their own, you know,
communities, Um, and teach maybeworkshops or or get their kids starting
to think about some of these things. I don't think anyone will regret it.
So definitely check some those projects out. And I was also thinking about
our hackaday prize. Grand Prize winner, Dexter, was this five access robotic
arm and one of their main clientsactually was an engineering school in New York
would use it as a freshman yearproject, was to build this robotic arm
because it covered kind of all ofthese disciplines in one mechanical engineering, hardware
engineering, you know, programming,firmware, Um, et Cetera, and
they would have as a big groupproject each year, which I thought was
awesome. All right. Well,thanks, Bruce, for another great design
lab. Deep Grief and will chatmore next week. Thanks so much for
listening to the Bob. Next weekwe're joined by another esteemed educator and inventor,
Caesar Jung Harada. I hope you'lljoin us. If you like the
bomb, don't forget to subscribe,rate and share. The show. Wherever
you get your podcasts, you canfollow supply frame and Hack Day on Instagram,
twitter, linkedin and Youtube, anddesign lab at supply frame. Design
lab on Instagram and twitter. Thebomb is a supply frame podcast, written,
produced and edited by Frank Driscoll andCo edited by Daniel Ferrara. Executive
Producers Are Ryan Tillotson and Tyler Nielsen. Theme Music is by Anna Haggman,
with show art by Thomas Schneider.Special thanks to Giovanni Selina's Bruce Dominguez,
Thomas Woodward, Jin Kumar, JordanClark, Matt Gunn, the entire supply
group team, and you are wonderfullisteners. I'm your host, Magenta,
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