2 Minutes With … is a series of short features to introduce us to the passions and interests of Lawrence students on and off campus. Find more 2 Minutes With … features here.
Story by Isabella Mariani ’21
Being the Makerspace assistant is more of a lifestyle than a job for Kelvin Maestre ’21. He’s found the place where teaching, learning, and a passion for creativity merge — in a little corner of the Seeley G. Mudd library.
The Makerspace is a hub of creative technologies on the first floor of the library. Free for students to use, the equipment includes 3D printers, sewing machines, a laser cutter and a soldering iron.
“The Makerspace is a place for you to come if you want to make something, study, or if you want a creative outlet,” said Maestre, an anthropology major from Revere, Massachusetts. “Your personality really comes out when you’re in that small space.”
A passion that’s been building
It was a longtime interest in 3D printing that brought Maestre into the Makerspace for the first time.
“Where I grew up, there was no 3D printer, there was no Makerspace,” he said. “I heard about these machines years ago and I’ve wanted to get my hands on one for a long time, and when I finally came here and I saw one, that was it.”
That first sighting for Maestre happened on a tour of the library during Summer Institute, a three-week visit to Lawrence before his freshman year. The next day he contacted Angela Vanden Elzen, the Reference & Learning Technologies librarian and assistant professor who serves as the Makerspace coordinator. She didn’t waste any time training him on the 3D printers at the start of fall term.
By his sophomore year, Maestre was a regular at Makerspace. He was given a job there that summer; a role he continues today as the assistant.
Ever since, the boundaries between work and play have disappeared. Each day, Maestre is able to share his passion for 3D printing with his peers. He spends his time training people on the machines and taking on small projects for professors, as well as pursuing a few of his own. Some of his favorite 3D-printed work includes a model jet engine, an ocarina, and a skull soap holder.
“Once you’ve used a 3D printer for so long, you can’t live without it,” he said. “I feel like I can’t separate myself from the lifestyle. Now I want these things and they have to be with me when I leave, otherwise I just feel incomplete.”
More than meets the eye
It’s not just the machines Maestre has bonded with. He and Vanden Elzen have become a dynamic Makerspace duo — in his words, “Like Angela is Batman and I’m Robin.”
And Maestre’s one-on-one time with Makerspace visitors forges relationships with students, too.
“The best part about my job is when I get to help people out,” he said. “It always makes me happy when I teach someone something and I see them do it themselves. They come to me for help and I help out, and you see them come back over and over again.”
Isabella Mariani ’21 is a student writer in the Communications office.