Leah's Open Road

  • INTERVIEWED BY:

    Women In STEM

  • INTERVIEW LOCATION:

    Albuquerque, NM

LEAH BUECHLEY

Designer, Engineer & Educator

“Make choices out of love and excitement and passion and interest, and—when coupled with hard work—those will take you to really great places.”

INTERESTS:

Art Engineering

THEMES DISCUSSED:

Exploration Hobbies & Pastimes Societal Pressures Confidence Passion Fear Goals Inspiration

FOUNDATION:

Being Creative

TAGS:

art, building things, combining interests, community, computers, creative, creativity, design, electronics, engaged, engineering, exclusionary, fashion, fear, hobby, impact, intimidation, male-dominated, technology, textiles

BIOGRAPHY:

  • She was always very drawn to her math and science classes in school, but outside of the classroom, she was very drawn to the arts.
  • She often felt torn, because she always felt like she had to choose between the two.
  • When she first went to college, she was a dance major and wanted to become a professional dancer.
  • After a few years, she actually missed the academic challenge of math and science; she realized she could continue to perform on the side, but she should get a STEM education.
  • She earned a B.A. in physics and a Ph.D. in computer science; it wasn’t until she started her postgraduate studies that she realized that she could blend her STEM and arts interests.
  • Was an assistant professor at the MIT Media Lab, where she led the High-Low Tech research group, which blended arts and crafts with electrical engineering and technology.
  • In 2006, she created LilyPad Arduino e-textile technology kits, used for embedding electronics in textiles; these kits kicked off a huge DIY wearable electronics movement.
  • Says that the goal of her inventions and artworks is to make technology more accessible, and to encourage people to be “playful, unafraid, experimental, and curious.”

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