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Benevolent STEM Queen

As part of our regular member feature we recently chatted with former Fab@CIC Contributor and current Impact Hubber Netia McCray. She’s the founder and executive director of Mbadika, a Boston-area nonprofit that helps kids get the skills they need to succeed in the modern economy through STEM (i.e. science, technology, engineering and math) education.

Q: How did you hear about Fab@CIC and what made you decide to join?

Fortunately, I heard about Fab@CIC from a colleague, Nettrice Gaskins, who has done fantastic digital fabrication projects for K-12 learners inspired by Black Panther at Fab@CIC. Her experience at Fab@CIC prompted me to explore becoming a Fab@CIC Member once our organization was able to make the move to Impact Hub Boston this Spring.

As a fellow maker educator, I knew she understood the struggle I was going through. It's been extremely difficult for my organization, Mbadika, to find spaces for impromptu tweaks or builds when I'm away from our workshop sites. Therefore, the ability to quickly travel to and from our various STEM Workshops throughout Boston/Cambridge while being able to rapidly and easily prototype our various projects as necessary made Fab@CIC a perfect fit for our efforts. One may even say a godsend.

Q: What Fab@CIC machine/technology do you specialize in or are you most excited about using?

My specialty is 3D printing and electronics. According to my interns, 'if it doesn't involve a CAD Model and LED, Miss Netia isn't interested'. Nonetheless, I'm excited to reconnect with the laser cutter and expand my 2D and 2.5D skills at the Fab@CIC space. 
 
Q: What awesome project(s) are you working on (or plan to work on) in our makerspace? (Also feel free to mention any relevant projects you've worked on in the past.)


Outside of Fab@CIC, I host a maker show on Boston Neighborhood Network (BNN) and YouTube called mLab (Mbadika Laboratory) in which we guide viewers through the process of bringing our pop culture, specifically nerd culture, inspired ideas to life using digital fabrication.

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We've just wrapped up our “Anulax battery” (not Harbulary battery) project inspired by Avengers: Endgame, in which we show how we created our own Anulax battery using CAD software, 3D printers, and basic electronic components. 

While bringing the project to life, we used Fab@CIC in order to create our initial prototypes of the project as well as the models used in the featurette of our workshop at the South End Technology Center (SETC), the world's first Fab Lab.

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Another awesome project was our Automatic Tampon Dispenser project done in honor of Mary Kenner, the original inventor of modern day feminine hygiene products, for Women's History Month. We were able to utilize the 3D printers, laser cutter, and electronics station at Fab@CIC in order to create an amazing tribute to a trailblazing woman.

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Honestly, my team had a blast working on that project and recording weird test videos at various locations throughout CIC for Instagram. We simply can’t wait to share our next Fab@CIC adventures on our social media this summer!

Q: Tell us a few fun facts about your life outside of Fab@CIC!

While creating maker projects is my passion, I love exploring and crafting unique candy creations with the only goal in mind being creating something worthy of Honeydukes Sweet Shop on Diagon Alley (from Harry Potter). Black Beetle flavored licorice? Still in development. 😉

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