You never know what’s going to spark a student’s creativity. For 13-year-old Emily Schuster, it was a fashion show at Maker Faire.

“They had created a fashion show for all of these women who had prosthetic limbs,” said Emily. “It wasn’t just about making something work, it was about making it beautiful.” 

So when the eighth-grade student at St. James Academy needed to come up with a community service project, she immediately thought of the fashion show. What if she could create a prosthetic limb for someone who needed one?EmilyS - 1

Combining a love of science, art, and fashion, Emily used her computer science knowledge and a 3D printer at school to print a prosthetic hand. Through the organization E-nable (Enabling the Future), Emily was able to access a computer program to design the hand and — once completed — the organization will match Emily’s hand with someone who needs it.  E-nable is a community of professionals, parents, students, and philanthropists who have come together to collaborate ways on how to assist people in need with 3D printable designs for hands and arms.

kid maker: emily at st. james academy - (cool) progenyOne of the milestones of the St. James Academy’s Eighth Grade experience is the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Program’s Community Project. This student-led initiative provides eighth grade students an opportunity to be contributing members of society. The community project focuses on community and service, encouraging students to explore their right and responsibility to implement service in the community. 

A Harry Potter fanatic and squash player, Emily was bitten by the making bug about three years ago when her father took her to her first Maker Faire. She was lured in by the littleBits tent and designed her first “magic” wand. She left with ideas buzzing and a lengthy Christmas list. Since then, she’s designed light-up boots, an LED-color changing purse, and a ‘real’ magic wand. With a flick, she can turn the light in her room on and off.

“I was SO proud that I could do it!” said Emily. “One day, I really want to have my own booth at Maker Faire. And show off something really cool I make.”

In the meantime, Emily will have her own table at Innovation Saturday this weekend. Stop by and check out the segway she and her sister made as part of the SJA Maker club and several of the tech-enhanced fashions she’s designed (boots that light-up blue when pointed north? Totally (cool).)

Join us at St. James Academy on Saturday, April 2nd for Innovation Saturday! A morning of FREE family fun centered on design, inquiry, and creativity. But shh…. don’t tell the kids they’re learning! MORE INFO/RSVP