Exciting news: Deanne Bell is joining New Orleans Mini Maker Faire as a presenter this year! Deanne is an engineer, entrepreneur, television host, public speaker, and founder of Future Engineers, an online education platform that issues national innovation challenges for K-12 students aimed at getting youth excited about the field of engineering.
What got her started in all this? It all goes back to Deanne’s love for creative problem-solving from a young age, which ultimately made her into a leader in the world of Maker Culture.
What makes you identify as a maker?
I’ve been a maker since I was a kid. Innovating in my backyard was a daily activity. Then I became an engineer, and innovating at the office became my daily activity. I think most of us have an inner maker. We all come up with ideas and think of ways to improve things, but I identify as a maker because I love to turn those ideas into reality.
What made you launch Future Engineers?
After hosting science television shows for many years, I saw the need for a platform that takes mainstream topics from media and/or the tech industry one step further – into the classroom as real-world design challenges.
What’s the most interesting thing you’ve made?
When I was a 13 I made an enormous artistic washing machine that spun and spat out golf ball “bubbles” that played drums. It’s most interesting because it reminds me of the unbridled creativity we have as kids and how we need to embrace that as adults.
Every maker experiences failures. Describe your most memorable one.
I made some optics mounts for a laser test bench with overly-designed precision tuning mechanisms. When we went to put it together, they were nudged into place and it worked. It reminds me not to over-engineer things. Simplicity is usually best. And there was the time on TV when the rocket emergency braking system mounted to a truck misfired. Safety is always paramount when doing ridiculous things that have never been done before.
Name someone who inspires you in your maker pursuits, and tell us why.
The students who participate in our Future Engineers challenges are my biggest source of inspiration. 3D printers are bringing prototypes to life even in first grade classrooms. It’s amazing to witness. The future is bright!
Do you have any advice for aspiring makers or makers who are just starting out?
Dive in. Being creative is seeing an product on a shelf and saying that was my idea. Being an entrepreneur is seeing a product on a shelf and saying that is my business. Ideas don’t make themselves. You have to dive in and make them happen.
Deanne Bell will help you learn how to take your invention to the next level at New Orleans Mini Maker Faire on Saturday, April 22 from 10am-5pm at Delgado’s Student Life Center (916 Navarre Ave). Get your tickets today!