Community Makers: Madison Edgren

Young Madison Edgren and friend Lindsey Weiss in Lego League

Meet Makerspace staff member, Madison Edgren! Previously an engineering student, Madison now studies Elementary Education, and we interviewed her to learn more. Read how her experiences as a child in STEM has influenced her work at the Makerspace and inspired her future as a middle school science teacher.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Tell us about yourself. What field do you work in? What work are you most interested in?

I work in the field of education and am currently getting my Elementary Education degree in order to become a middle school science teacher. I love hands-on home improvement projects, interior design, and cool science experiments! Mostly, I do a lot of work with textiles and upcycling.

Have you or are you working on any projects or initiatives that you want to share with the Maker community?

My favorite initiative that I’d like to do more with in the future is demonstrating to the campus that there are a lot of ways we can avoid harming the environment by upcycling! This includes using fabric bags instead of plastic ones, thrifting instead of fast fashion, and learning to sew so that old clothes can be repaired instead of thrown away!

How has your identity influenced your education and/or career experience?

Growing up, I had a really poor experience with STEM instructors. I always felt looked down upon for learning slower than my peers, and I was discouraged from pursuing my passions. Now grown, I’m driven to teach kids that it’s okay to learn at a different pace. You can be passionate about both non-STEM subjects and making; engineering is not exclusive. As a Makerspace employee AND future educator, I can say with full confidence that it is possible to combine the things that inspire you!

Can you explain more on how your childhood experiences in STEM inspired you to become a science teacher?

A lot of my childhood experiences in STEM inspired me to become a science teacher, especially a lot of the hands-on projects I was able to do in the classroom. I learned that I absorb information best when I’m actively engaged in it rather than reading it or being lectured about it. My participation in a Lego League my mom started, after noticing a lack of these kinds of clubs for girls, really got me into making. From toothpick bridges to programming robots, I was able to try out a wide variety of activities that fueled my passion for hands-on projects!

Why did you decide to work at the Makerspace and how do you feel your experiences here have benefitted your personal and/or career goals (aka what have you learned)?

I decided to work at the Makerspace after spending the first semester of my freshman year there. I joined a FIG combining interdisciplinary design and engineering that allowed me to combine my desire to create functional products with unique designs! After working at the Makerspace for a while (almost two and a half years now!) I’ve found that I’ve learned more about making and design than I ever could have hoped to after leaving the [College of Engineering]. Through my job at the ‘space, I’ve improved my ability to teach and I’ve learned how to operate a lot of cool machinery I hope I can share with my future students!

What do you think you have brought to the Makerspace and how have you made it better?

I think I’ve brought a new type of workshop to the Makerspace! I’ve been lucky enough to lead many upcycling and textiles workshops. In the future, I hope I can offer campus the opportunity to learn many new useful, everyday skills that can also benefit the planet!