In collaboration with Tony DeRose of Pixar, Maker Media, and the Exploratorium, the Young Makers program started as a pilot group, meeting at the Exploratorium in San Francisco with about 20 kids in its first year in 2010. Tony had been asking, “How can we give more kids the opportunity to make things and bring them to exhibit at events like Maker Faire?” He and his family were looking to provide a similar opportunity to others.

In 2011, approximately 20 local “maker clubs” sprung up with young makers and adult volunteers working together in parent-run garages or at local schools to develop projects for Maker Faire. In 2012, almost 150 participants exhibited 80 projects at Maker Faire Bay Area.

The Young Makers program is different than robotics competitions and science fairs. In particular, there are no winners and losers, just fantastic makers and learners who innovate and collaborate to create something great. Projects are cross-disciplinary and youth-driven; anything that’s cool is fair game.

For the 2014 season and beyond, Young Makers is an official program of the Maker Education Initiative. Maker Ed will develop and grow the program, deepening relationships and reaching new communities in the Bay Area, as well as broadening the reach of Young Makers nationally.


Founding Team

Dale Dougherty is currently the founder and CEO of Maker Media in Sebastopol, California. Maker Media produces Make Magazine, which launched in 2005, and Maker Faire, which was first held in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2006. MAKE has been the catalyst for a worldwide Maker Movement that is transforming innovation in industry, hands-on learning in education and the personal lives of makers of all ages. MAKE invites everyone to become a maker and integrate creative goals with technical skills. Dale was a co-founder of O’Reilly Media, where he was the first editor of their computing trade books, and developed GNN in 1993, the first commercial website. MAKE started at O’Reilly Media and spun out as its own company in January 2013. Dale also serves as the Chair for Maker Ed’s Board of Advisors. He grew up in Louisville, KY.

Tony DeRose is the Senior Scientist at Pixar Animation Studios. He received a B.S. in Physics in from the University of California, Davis, and a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of California, Berkeley. From 1986 to 1995 Dr. DeRose was a Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Washington. In 1998, he was a major contributor to the Oscar (c) winning short film “Geri’s game”, in 1999 he received the ACM SIGGRAPH Computer Graphics Achievement Award, and in 2006 he received a Scientific and Technical Academy Award (c) for his work on surface representations. In addition to his research interests, Tony is also involved in a number of initiatives to help make math, science, and engineering education more inspiring and relevant for middle and high school students. Tony also serves on Maker Ed’s advisory board.

Karen Wilkinson and Mike Petrich direct the Tinkering Studio and Learning Studio at the Exploratorium in San Francisco. The Tinkering Studio is an immersive, active, creative place at the Exploratorium where museum visitors can slow down, become deeply engaged in an investigation of scientific phenomena, and make something—a piece of a collaborative chain reaction—that fully represents their ideas and aesthetic. The Learning Studio acts as a developmental lab for the Tinkering Studio. Karen and Mike both have undergraduate degrees in fine art from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, and both are graduates of the Harvard Graduate School of Education.  They are also recent co-authors of the book The Art of Tinkering.

Michelle Hlubinka is the Education Director for Maker Media, overseeing educational outreach and programming. Before joining the Maker Faire crew, she worked at the Exploratorium and MIT Media Lab’s Lifelong Kindergarten group. That work built on previous research at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and as a long-time mentor at the Intel Computer Clubhouse Network. When she’s not supporting future Makers, she does some making of her own, most often as a graphic designer and illustrator.