Ann's story is the latest in our ChangeMakeHer Career Stories, where we interview incredible women creating powerful change in their respective fields about their stories and share their advice on how you can do the same. One of the biggest factors as to why girls tend to shy away from fields such as STEM, tech, entrepreneurship and leadership roles is quite simply that there is often not enough representation. After all, it’s a lot harder to become something you can’t see. So, here at ChangeMakeHer, one of the ways we’re working to change that by interviewing amazing women out there, and showing that you’re just as capable of doing things like them!
So, without further ado, let us introduce to you: Ann Makosinski!
Tell us about your story and what you do day-to- day!
My name is Ann Makosinski, I’m 19 years old and live in Victoria, British Columbia,
Canada. This September I’m going into my third year at UBC (University of British
Columbia), for a degree in English Literature. However, I also like to invent things
outside of school.
How did you get to where you are today?
My first toy was a box of transistors, and from there my interest in electronics
grew. I would take trash from around the house, and piece them together with my hot
glue gun, creating ‘inventions’. Of course they never worked, but the idea of taking
the resources around me and piecing them together to make something better was
infused at an early age. In grade 6, I joined the local science fair, and caught the
science fair bug. Every year I returned with a new project I had worked on outside of
school, usually in the area of alternative energy harvesting. Alternative energy is
energy that’s always around us but not commonly used. In grade 10, I was inspired by
my friend in the Philippines (I’m half Filipino and half Polish), who told me that she
had failed her grade in school because she couldn’t afford electricity, so she had no
light to study with at night. In solution to her problem, I created the Hollow Flashlight,
a flashlight that runs off the heat of the human hand. A couple years later, I also made
the eDrink, a coffee mug that harvests the excess heat of your hot drink and converts
it into electricity, so you can eventually give your iPhone or iPod a boost of energy.
What advice would you give to young girls looking to get into your field of work?
Well I don’t exactly have a specific field of work I’m into right now, I do inventing,
public speaking, running my own business/figuring out patents, writing books (work
in progress!), and making short videos. I would just say whatever you’re interested in,
follow your passion. You will be so unhappy when you are older if you are doing a job
that you were never really interested in the first place. If you are passionate about
something, you will want to work on it every day, which is what you need to do to
become good at anything.
Why do you think women are under-represented in your field and the broader workplace?
Interest in science grows at an early age for many girls, but their passion for it can diminish because of their parents or community not supporting enough (or not being able to support) their scientific interests, and also media/movie stereotypes of people in STEM. Parents need to play a more active role in the children's interests and expose them to EVERYTHING at an early age.How can we fix this?Have schools incorporate a much more heavier STEAM program in their curriculum.Yes sport successes look good on the local newspaper, but educating children about the technological world around them and telling them that they can solve other people's problems BEFORE they even go to college is equally important.
Who are your biggest inspirational leading women?
Ummm good question most of my obsessions as a kid were with guys (Harry Houdini,Basil Rathbone, Elvis etc.). I guess Helen Keller, Hedy Lamarr, Ginger Rogers, CarmenMiranda and Ann Margret. (Ann Margret’s the only alive one).Where can girls find you? (social media pages, businesses, website)Instagram: @annmakosinski https://www.instagram.com/annmakosinski/
Twitter: @annmakosinski https://twitter.com/annmakosinski