Enabling Federal Agencies to Tackle Complex Problems with the Help of Makers-In-Residence

Authors: Dorothy Jones-Davis and Stephanie Santoso


Across the U.S., there are approximately 2,000 makerspaces and Fab Labs where makers with a broad and diverse set of skills have developed innovative approaches to solving pressing problems in their communities. The next administration should implement a Maker-In-Residence (MIR) fellowship program that allows federal agencies to leverage the incredible skills and knowledge of the American maker community to address complex problems specific to their missions.

Implementation of the MIR fellowship program would enable American makers and innovators to:

  1. Contribute their knowledge and unique and diverse skill sets to fulfilling the missions of federal agencies while learning first-hand about federal policy and the policymaking process

  2. Utilize their learnings to solve complex societal problems and affect policy change in their local communities.

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About the Authors

Dorothy Jones-Davis is the Executive Director of Nation of Makers, a national nonprofit whose mission is to support the full range of organizations that impact makers, by encouraging connections, broadly sharing resources, facilitating funding opportunities, engaging in policy development, and advocating for the maker movement. As a Ph.D-level neuroscientist, Dorothy previously worked at the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (FNIH) where she created and managed public-private partnerships in Neuroscience between the NIH, FDA academia, non-profit, advocacy organizations, and industry partners. Prior to that role, she served as an AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow in the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Directorate for Engineering, was a co-founder and co-producer of the National Maker Faire and the DC Mini Maker Faire, a researcher at the University of California, San Francisco and a lecturer at San Francisco State University.

Stephanie Santoso is the Director of Strategic Initiatives for Makers + Mentors Network, an initiative of the national non-profit organization, Citizen Schools. As a Senior Program Fellow at Infosys Foundation USA, she supports the Foundation’s maker education portfolio. Stephanie is a founding Board Member of Nation of Makers and received her Ph.D. in Information Science at Cornell University where her dissertation research explored the IP issues related to 3D printing. From 2014-2016, she served as the first Senior Advisor for Making at the White House, where she helped develop President Obama’s Nation of Makers initiative to broaden access to the Maker Movement. This included planning the first-ever White House Maker Faire and the National Week of Making.