Success! Makerspace Helps Build Real World Experiences

Megan Barrett

Cabrillo College Makerspace Internship Program

Santa Cruz Children’s Museum of Discovery


I took some time off after I got my bachelor’s degree and wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do. I started taking classes at Cabrillo College in digital fabrication. That’s when I realized what I wanted to do. I had tried several times to get jobs in the industry and find a program that would provide me with some experience and training in the field. I wasn’t able to get my foot in the door anywhere and it seemed impossible to get any experience. One day at school I saw the flyer for the Makerspace Internship Program. This was exactly what I was looking for.

I submitted an interest form and my resume. Courtney, the Job Developer from Goodwill contacted me and we talked about what I was interested in and what opportunities were available. Courtney set up an interview for me with Patrice Keet at the Children’s Museum of Discovery in Santa Cruz also known as the MOD. The interview went well and I was accepted as an intern at the MOD for 60 hours. The project I was contracted for was to create a display for the front window of the MOD. I collaborated with Patrice on ideas for a design and was given a budget for supplies of $200.00. Initially I planned to hand paint the design on the window. I purchased the paint and began the display. It took me six hours to paint five leafs. The design for the display included around 900 leafs. There was no way I was going to be able to successfully complete the display in sixty hours. I talked to Mary Govaars, the Makerspace Coordinator, about my challenge. Mary suggested that I use the vinyl cutter instead of hand painting the display. I had never used the vinyl cutter before. Mary oriented me to the vinyl cutter. I was able to produce the leafs from the vinyl cutter in about thirty hours, compared to what I estimated would take one hundred fifty hours to paint by hand. This was really exciting because this is the future of the industry. I was able to access the technology of the Makerspace to create my design in less than a quarter of the time it would have taken to produce the display traditionally. It was also cheaper and more sustainable to use the vinyl cutter compared to paint.

What is so exciting about the Makerspace Internship Program is the real experience. These are the challenges and processes of what I will be facing as I develop my own business and step into a career in this industry. The Makerspace Internship Program provided the networking that I didn’t have. I aspire to eventually develop my own design business in this region, where I am contracted by non-profits and educational programs, like museums. I learned so much from the beginning of this experience, starting with communicating with a client to develop a shared idea that is realistic. I got to experience managing a budget, managing my time, and problem solving. The team from Cabrillo College and Patrice Keet were all very supportive. This has all been a new experience to me. Having the support of the staff at Cabrillo College and Goodwill has been so helpful. Courtney advised me to request a letter of recommendation from the MOD, to update my resume, and to start building a portfolio. These are all things that I hadn’t thought about. My next steps are to follow through with a plan I am developing with Courtney, which includes possible internship opportunities at the Museum of Art and History- MAH, and the Monterey Bay Aquarium. I plan to take full advantage of this program and the opportunity that it offers. I also just want to say that you guys are amazing!