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MakerLab@LightCity presented by Stanley Black & Decker; Supporting Sponsor: UMBC

Friday, April 20

Learn about the how the maker movement is reimagining education, work, and opportunity, and how discovering the talent to make things is changing lives.

• MakerLab kicks off with Shanti Das, an accomplished Music Industry Executive, Marketing Executive, Consultant, Mentor, Entrepreneur, Philanthropist, and Author. Shanti will share the stage with local social entrepreneur, Brittany Young, the founder of B-360 Baltimore, a community partnership that uses dirt bike culture as a platform to build relationships in the community, shift the perception of engineers, and provide a pathway to career opportunities. They’ll discuss empowering youth through their own culture in a discussion moderated by Michelle Antoinette Nelson.

• Dr. Freeman Hrabowski, President of UMBC, will lead a discussion on “The Making of Gun Show.” Joined by artist David Hess, art critic and historian Kathy O'Dell, and filmmaker Richard Chisolm, the panel will discuss the making of the exhibition Gun Show, a project designed to foster dialogue about one of the most volatile issues of our time — guns, who should or should not own them, whether or not to legislate them, ramifications for their use or misuse, and how issues of race, class, gender identity, and age impact every aspect of these questions. 

• Jason Bass will not only serve as the emcee for MakerLab, he and his Treason Toting Company co-founder, Aaron Jones, will do a talk entitled, “Makers everywhere: Moving past stereotypes in Urban America.”

• Social media is redefining the way artists and makers build audiences for their work, and Sree Sreenivasan is redefining the way we use social media. Sree was the first Chief Digital Officer at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. At the Met, he led a 70-person team that worked to keep the 150-year-old institution relevant in the smartphone age. He was named one of Fast Company's 100 Most Creative People in Business in 2015. 

• Baltimore makers have a growing number of programs and spaces dedicated to empowering makers. We’ll explore how these spaces are providing opportunity pathways for local makers in this panel moderated by Mike Murray of Stanley Black & Decker. Mike will be joined by Keith Cooper, of Empowered Metals, Tammira Lucas of Moms As Entrepreneurs, and Jason Hardebeck of The Foundery at Port Covington.

• Foad Hamidi is a Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) researcher and designer. Foad will share his work in a talk titled, “Transcending Invisible Lines.”

• Christopher Wiley Sleat, CEO of Workbench Platform, will talk about experiential learning and how the act of making can change the way we think and learn.

• MakerLab closes with a talk by Grammy Award winner, Kimbra, a singer who will challenge our thinking about the making of music in the digital age.

Shanti Das, Entrepreneur and Author

Shanti Das is an accomplished Music Industry Executive, Marketing Executive, Consultant, Mentor, Entrepreneur, Philanthropist, and Author. She is also the Founder of Press Reset Entertainment, an Atlanta-based firm launched in 2009 that serves as an entertainment concierge service providing independent marketing & strategy for music acts, artist development, talent booking for private & corporate events, brand influencer marketing and special event assistance.

Sree Sreenivasan, Digital & social strategist, consultant, teacher, Center10 Consulting, LLC

Sree is a leading digital and social media consultant and strategist. He works as a consultant, speaker and trainer for nonprofits, corporations and more. He was, most recently, NYC's Chief Digital Officer, running the Mayor's Office of Digital Strategy. He left the position when the role of CDO was combined with the role of Chief Technology Officer of NYC. From 2013-2016, he was the first Chief Digital Officer at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. At the Met, he lead a 70-person team that worked to keep the 150-year-old institution relevant in the smartphone age. He joined the Met after spending 20 years at Columbia University as a professor at the Columbia Journalism School and a year as Columbia's first CDO.He was named one of Fast Company's 100 Most Creative People in Business in 2015.

Foad Hamidi, Postdoctoral Research Associate, University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Foad Hamidi is a Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) researcher and designer. He specializes in the participatory design and evaluation of tangible and embedded systems, including digital living media systems, for children and adults with cognitive and/or physical disabilities. Hamidi currently works as a postdoctoral research associate in the Information Systems Department at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC).

Chris Sleat, CEO, Workbench Platforms

Chris Sleat is the CEO of Workbench, is the only end-to-end ecosystem for hands-on teaching and learning, referred to as Project Based Learning (PBL). It provides all the tools necessary for school districts and libraries to fully deploy PBL curricula at every level. Workbench is an exclusive education community for the top maker-education companies worldwide.

Keith “KC” Cooper

Keith “KC” Cooper is a founding member of #FixBaltimore, a for-profit organization grounded in grassroots values. Members of the organization were serving the Baltimore community prior to the conception; however, events leading up to and after the death of Freddie Gray generated collective action. The organization is dedicated to improving the material conditions, economic opportunities and overall atmosphere of urban Baltimore. During the past year, their initiatives have grown and evolved into a movement for and by passionate young people. Their urgency for change has motivated artistic, agricultural, job training and youth-centered projects.


As humans, we inherently seek, crave, and thrive on love. We just chase it like a predator or dawn on the heels of darkness. The primordial bond between instinct and passion drives Kimbra’s 2018 third full-length album, Primal Heart. An admission during the track “Human,” “I got a heart that’s primal,” codifies a poignant, prescient, and pervasive theme for the art pop songstress. “It tapped on an interesting rawness about what it means to have a heart that cries out for love as a primal need,” she exclaims. “There’s a vulnerability to that as well as a sense of coming back to truth. The Primal Heart is full both fear and self-preservation like an animal, but there is also a longing to transcend and evolve.” The same could be said of Kimbra. Since emerging in 2010, she has continually evolved. 2012 saw her become a household name after dueting with Gotye on the ubiquitous RIAA quadruple-platinum-certified “Somebody That I Used To Know.” It went on to win both “Record of the Year” and “Best Pop Duo/Group Performance” at the 2013 GRAMMY® Awards, and she made history as “the third New Zealand singer to win a GRAMMY®.” 2014’s The Golden Echo found her progressing yet again and receiving the endorsement of Paste, Los Angeles Times, Spin, Consequence of Sound and more along the way.

Freeman A. Hrabowski III, President, University of Maryland Baltimore County

Freeman A. Hrabowski, III, has served as President of UMBC (The University of Maryland, Baltimore County) since 1992. His research and publications focus on science and math education, with special emphasis on minority participation and performance. He chaired the National Academies’ committee that produced the 2011 report, Expanding Underrepresented Minority Participation: America’s Science and Technology Talent at the Crossroads. He was named in 2012 by President Obama to chair the President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for African Americans.

Kathy O'Dell, Special Assistant to the Dean for Education & Arts Partnerships, University of Maryland Baltimore County

Kathy O'Dell is an art critic and historian of modern and contemporary art, with a focus on performance art, women artists, and issues related to global art. Her writings have appeared in Artforum, Art in America, Lusitania, Performance Research, TDR: The Drama Review, Textile: The Journal of Cloth & Culture, and Women & Performance: A Journal of Feminist Theory. From 2001 to 2014, O'Dell was Associate Dean of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences at UMBC, and is now serving as Special Assistant to the Dean for Education & Arts Partnerships.

David Hess

Artist David Hess works mostly with found materials. The materials he finds, he refers to as rescued objects; they are loaded with history and cultural narrative. At Dartmouth College, Hess studied with the realist wood sculptor Fumio Yoshimura, whose precision and humor had a profound impact on Hess. Hess's interests in science, engineering and narrative filmmaking also inform his sculpture. Frequently, he explores a precarious balance of elements poised on the verge of movement. Hess is represented in Baltimore by Goya Contemporary Gallery. His work can be found in numerous private and public collections including the collections of the American Visionary Art Museum, Baltimore Museum of Industry, Johns Hopkins Hospital, Sinai Hospital, Thurgood Marshall Airport, Kaiser-Permanente and the Emerson Corporation.


Richard Chisolm

Richard Chisolm is an Emmy award-winning documentary filmmaker and cinematographer with thirty years of production experience. Based in Baltimore, he has shot films and television programs on a wide variety of subjects in the US and abroad. Deeply committed to the value of real stories and the adventures of real people, Richard has worked for PBS, National Geographic, BBC, Discovery Channel, HBO, and many other broadcast entities. He was a Camera Operator on the HBO series "The Wire" and the Director of Photography for both of ABC's "Hopkins" prime time medical documentary series (2000 & 2008). He is also the recipient of a Peabody Award, a Columbia DuPont Journalism Award, two Kodak Vision Awards, four CINE Golden Eagles, and is a Distinguished Alumnus of UMBC.