Maker Hub offers creative outlet for students


Elon University’s Maker Hub is known to be a place where students can channel their inner artistry and relieve stress. First-time maker and Elon Academy student Christen McAdoo thinks the same.

“While I’ve been in here, anything that’s kind of made me sad throughout the day, I haven’t really thought about it,” rising senior McAdoo said. “You can make things out of anger, sadness, happiness, anything.”

The Maker Hub was established five years ago by Dan Reis, a senior Instructional Technologist at Elon University. Reis had the idea to build a creative space for students around seven years ago and after discussing the proposal with upper administration, his wish was granted and the Maker Hub was opened in Elon’s Residence Hall.

 “I like the opportunity of giving students a chance to work with their hands on stuff,” Reis said. “And then there’s research on how seeing a project through to its physical form is just an experience. It can’t be replicated by writing a paper or designing something.”

The Maker Hub gives students access to basic tools such as wood cutters, multiple types of paper and several tools made to shape and cut various materials. They are also given access to more advanced machinery like 3D printers, embroidery machines, laser engravers and more.

Students from the Elon Academy have made buttons, paintings, wood engravings and 3D printed items so far. Summer employees of the Hub have been assisting the students in the program.

 “When it comes to projects, Maker Hub is a useful tool to use,” Maker Hub consultant Seth Wolter said. “A lot of equipment. A lot of resources, so it’s helpful.”

Employees of the Maker Hub have said it has benefited them as well. Since the Hub is easily accessible, as it’s open from 12-6 p.m., some even come on their own time to find a creative outlet and make things.

Maker Hub co-founder Dan Reis helps an Elon Academy student with a laser engraver project. Photo by Naamah Silcott

They say it’s a good place to gain experience working with different kinds of machinery. Both employees and users have also said that the Maker Hub has taught more than just working machines. Users of the Maker Hub have found that it is a good place to grow communication skills.

“It helped me listen and help others,” Elon Academy student Johnathan Mushi said. “I had to listen to another peer show me how to build a little button and then once I listened, and he taught me, I showed other people.”

The Maker Hub has become a sanctuary for people to clear their minds from their busy agendas. Users and employees of the Maker Hub said they find it to be a relaxing place where they can get away from stress.

“I had an idea for Father’s Day, so I was kind of stressed out that day,” Elon Academy counselor Bridget Peralta said. “But when I came out, I was very happy.”

Students from Elon Academy have said they look forward to coming back to the Maker Hub and use the facility to pursue their academic or personal projects.

“I definitely would come back just to try new things and make new things,” McAdoo said. “While you’re in here, I talked to people I haven’t usually talked to before so I get to meet new people.”


Bonus podcast episode with Maker Hub employee Virginia Morrison, hosted by Lilliana Molina.

Gabrielle Lashley was born and raised in Los Angeles, where she attends Daniel Pearl Magnet High School. After creating art for most of her life, Gabrielle discovered her love of writing in her ninth-grade journalism class. She became a staff writer for her school’s publication, The Pearl Post, the following year. Currently, she serves as managing and special reports editor, where she has created political cartoons and magazine covers, and launched the first season of the publication’s podcast. Gabrielle has also participated in other extracurricular activities, such as Black Student Union and Media Club. Outside of school, she recently completed an art internship. Gabrielle looks forward to continuing her creative journey through writing and art.


Lilliana Molina is from Tampa, Florida, where she attends Leto High School. She enjoys going to the beach and creating collages. She’s also an active leader in her school community as the newly elected president of the National Honor Society, a member of Leadership, and founder of her school's book club. Lilly is the co-founder of a podcast where her and her co-host give high schoolers advice on how to excel in school.

Naamah Silcott

Naamah Silcott was born and raised in Los Angeles and attends Daniel Pearl Magnet High School. Naamah joined the girls’ varsity volleyball team during their first year and now, in their third year, serves as captain. Naamah also is secretary of the junior student council, president of the Pride Club, incoming president of the Black Student Union and a yearbook design editor. They also are passionate about art and neuroscience. Naamah dabbles in animation in their free time and plans to first pursue a career as a neurosurgeon, followed by a career in the animation industry.