Makerspace Scholarship Program: Testimonoials

We’ve just wrapped up our first round of the Maker Scholarship Program at MADE! This program is aimed to expand access to our state-of-the-art workshop to individuals who are underrepresented in the maker community: BIPOC and female or non-binary makers. The Maker Scholarship Program is funded by donations- if you’re interested in helping to promote diversity in St. Louis’s maker community, please consider a one-time donation or a small monthly contribution.

We are super excited to share the stories of four individuals who received membership and training at MADE, funded by the program in our first round. This included entrepreneur Kacie Starr Long, hobbyist JoAnn Williams, and maker Relanda Young. Each individual came into the program with a different projects and ideas, and varying levels of experience making stuff.  Keep reading to learn more about each scholarship awardee.

Brian Lathan learns how to use the CNC router from Carly, MADE’s Education Director.

Kacie Starr Long : Entrepreneur

Kacie Starr Long is a third-generation seamstress who participated in the MADE Scholarship Program to learn and access MADE’s textiles equipment; specifically the industrial sewing machines, embroidery machine, vinyl cutter and heat press. She used all these tools to help expand the product catalogue for her apparel business, SuchALady Boutique. Through SuchALady, Kacie aims to teach and employ previously incarcerated women how to sew and construct garments.

Kacie spent six months at MADE, learning new machines and testing out her ideas in the community makerspace. Of her experience at MADE, she shares,

“MADE Makerspace is important for me at this time because it is providing me access to the tools I need in order to expand the products I am able to offer, along with the knowledge of how to use these tools. MADE Makerspace is important to me because it provides both of these things which is important to me as an entrepreneur and maker.”

One of Kacie’s handmade pieces
A prayer shawl that Kacie embroidered on MADE’s CNC embroidery machine.
A prayer shawl that Kacie embroidered on MADE’s CNC embroidery machine.
Kacie learned how to use the CNC router with Carly Lowe, MADE’s Education Director during her scholarship here.

Brian Lathan : Artist

Brian Lathan is a local artist and printmaking professor. His work investigates the intersection of sculpture and printmaking, and applied for the MADE Scholarship Program to expand his cross-disciplinary process.

He began his 6-month membership with a class on the laser cutters, where he created some tools for his printmaking practice out of acrylic. After learning how to use MADE’s vacuum former, Brian began screen printing onto plastic and making three-dimensional reliefs that challenge traditional printmaking and sculptural techniques.

Brian remarks about his experience at MADE :

“My experience at MADE has been an amazing one. As a practicing artist in St. Louis, it’s easy to see that do you are surrounded by talented, hard-working, and profound artists…While working [at MADE] I met many awesome artists, as well as makers, designers, and entrepreneurs. Simultaneously I was introduced to all these other ways of creating work that, though I may have heard of them, I never expected I would have access to them.”

(left) Brian’s first project explored laser-etching into acrylic to create an intaglio matrix for printmaking. (right) Using plastic that Brain printed warped images of his face onto, Brian then vacuum-formed his prints around basic shapes to create more sculpturally abstract self-portraits.
Brian explored a technique that combined printmaking and vacuum forming. He would screen print onto plastic substrates and then vacuum form them to create 3-dimensional artwork.

JoAnn Williams : Hobbyist

JoAnn Williams is an officer of the St. Louis Police Department and applied for the scholarship program so she could design and build commemorative plaques for the families of fellow officers who had died in the line of duty. While here, she discovered the therapeutic benefits of making;  the patience-building that woodworking creates and she can weave her experiences with loss into memorialized, handmade objects. 

Of her experience as a member at MADE, JoAnn shares,

“[The MADE] scholarship has opened a door and the prospect of a brighter future which will play a key role in shaping a more successful creative future….I have learned things about my very own artistic abilities, which I did not know I possessed. I absolutely love the space and the opportunity to participate in such a cool environment…I am totally excited to continue building on the many different skill sets MADE offers.”

Commemorative plaque that JoAnn made on the laser cutters
JoAnn Williams, wearing protective gear in the woodshop to keep her eyes, ears, and lungs safe.


A sign that JoAnn made on MADE’s CNC routers, then finished with a woodburning technique she taught herself.

Relanda Young : Maker

Relanda Young applied for the MADE Scholarship Program as a home staging consultant looking to expand her understanding of how décor is made, and to explore her creativity in a community space. While at MADE, Relanda focused on learning new skills like textiles and woodworking to create a better-rounded knowledge for her home staging business. 

Relanda shares about her time at MADE:

“MADE has helped me with the formative stages of my small business.  I gained confidence from my experiential learning experiences, networked with other professionals, and much, much more. I would recommend this program to all creatives.”

Some of the skill-building projects that Relanda started with include picture frames, laser-etched business cards, and custom glassware. Relanda focused her membership on learning new skills and exploring branding for her staging company, RDY Enterprises.
A wood picture frame that Relanda constructed in the woodshop, to help build her understanding of the woodworking process.

We are so excited…

To bring in the next round of awardees, Elise Agne and Delia Appiah! Stay tuned to our Instagram and newsletters to discover how

Elise and Delia explore their creativity with the Maker Scholarship Program. If you’re interested in helping fund this unique program, consider a one-time donation or call us to set up a small monthly contribution.


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