A natural fit

A part-time job at a campus makerspace has added another dimension to Kalleen Kelley's neuroscience and psychology research projects.

Kalleen Kelley talks with another student at the makerspace.

For Carolina junior Kalleen Kelley, her part-time job at the Murray Hall and Carmichael Residence Hall makerspaces is more about sharing her passion than a paycheck.

“It doesn’t feel like a job,” said Kelley, a neuroscience and psychology double major.

Over the past year, Kelley has worked her way up to become a team leader at the makerspaces, leading courses and helping students with the high-tech equipment in the facilities.

Two students use a sewing machine.

Working 12 hours-a-week as a team leader at the makerspaces, Kelley teaches various classes for students interested in Carolina’s maker culture.A student shows the parts of a sewing machine. Kelley teaches students everything they need to know to use sewing machines, 3D printers and design software — skills she picked up herself at Carolina’s makerspaces.

A female student teaches another student at a laptop. “I’ve been able to do the things that I’m good at, which is helping others and help train others,” Kelley said.

People work on a sewing machine.“It gives me a reprieve from having to do so many conceptual academic things all day,” Kelley said. “I actually get to make things and teach people, which is what I love doing anyway.”

A chest of tools.

The skills she hones every shift have also helped add another dimension to the work she is doing in the classroom. Kelley has utilized the technical skills she’s developed to design products that could solve problems in the neuroscience field.

“I can actually design things for people who are visually impaired, which is the research that I am doing now,” she said. “A lot of the designing that I start out doing here as fun projects are actually applicable to answering real questions out in the world.

“I can actually make the models of the systems that I study and understand them better because I can hold them and physically connect with them. I can make models for other people to understand the things that I do, and I can create real things that tie together the things that I learn in the classroom with actual stuff that I’m interested in.”