A global influencer and inventor at only 20 years old, Ann Makosinski talks  to us about inventing, STEAM, and advice for future innovators.

Mediaplanet: What sparked your interest in inventing?

Ann Makosinski: I wasn’t given many toys as a child, but I was provided with a hot glue gun and glue sticks. I used them, along with the trash I collected from around the house, to piece together “inventions.” I was also given old computers and printers to take apart and would spend many hours admiring the electronics inside.

I believe all children are inherently creative, but when they’re given passive entertainment, they become accustomed to being entertained rather than creating something to entertain themselves. I was lucky enough to have good examples at home, with my dad always on his workbench after dinner and my mom sculpting with clay.

MP: What is STEAM, and why is it important for you to be involved in this field?

AM: STEAM stands for science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics. Usually we hear about STEM, which is everything listed previously, minus the arts. I’m passionate about the usually overlooked, but crucial, combination of science and art which I believe more schools should be promoting. All technology is a mixture of science and art. We need the technology to work properly — which is the science part — but we also expect products to be aesthetically pleasing — that’s attributed to art. Most of the time we look at science as a career and art as a hobby, but I think it’s important to tell youth that when science and art come together, great things happen.

MP: What excites you most about the STEAM field?

AM: One thing that gets me really excited about STEAM is the potential it has for young students and future innovators. I think students would respond positively to learning about math and science if it didn’t always involve a textbook and dull lab work. Using art to teach more logic-oriented subjects like math and science has already been proven to produce better results with students.

MP: Why is it important for young Canadians to think outside the box when it comes to their career paths, specifically as it relates to STEAM?

AM: Youth shouldn’t be afraid to pursue passions in both the sciences and the arts, as they complement each other and make you well-versed in multiple areas. We need to help preserve the Earth and discover more ways to reduce our ecological footprint, we can do this by getting kids to think outside the box and combine their skills in the arts and sciences.

MP: What advice do you have for young girls who are interested in STEM, but don’t have many female role models in the field?

AM: There have always been many female role models in STEM — they just haven’t been mentioned or documented very much. My advice is for girls to read about female role models, find one whose life really inspires you, and let that inspiration carry you through your journey in STEM or STEAM. Be inspired by their dedication, passion, hard work, and positive thinking.