The Engineer of 2020, in the Making: Understanding how Young Adults Develop Maker Identities and the Implications for Education Reform
Making is a social phenomenon that encourages the adoption of many of the practices, skills, and knowledges associated with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) disciplines. It also incorporates many of the key personal attributes of the Engineer of 2020. Although educators have started to institutionalize this connection through the establishment of makerspaces and Maker-based curriculum, less effort has been made to understand how the current population of ‘‘grassroots’’ Makers have come to identify with this movement. In this qualitative research study, we analyze critical incident interviews of young adults who frequent shared-use community workshops, or makerspaces. Employing a theory-driven thematic analysis, we developed an initial process framework for Maker identity formation that could provide educators with a useful perspective when implementing Maker-based programs in their institutions.