Young Maker Profile: Sylvia Todd


Sylvia Todd’s boundless enthusiasm shines through in everything she does. After attending the very first Maker Faire when she was 5, she says, “I began making (and destroying!) things.” She learned how to solder from her dad when she was 7, and since the age of 8, she’s had her very own show on the MAKE YouTube channel, “Super Awesome Sylvia’s Mini Maker Show,” where she demonstrates how to make everything from crazy putty to a no-heat lava lamp.

In addition to building projects, she enjoys reading novels and comic books,drawing, and riding her scooter. Sylvia also spends time sharing what she has learned with her younger siblings. “I taught my sister Talulah [age 8] how to lash two sticks together with a piece of long grass when building a fairy house,” she recalls. “I loveto see them make the same hilarious mistakes I used to make, but I get in thereand help them out before they get too stuck.”

Although she has a pretty sweet gig right now as a student and host of a funinternet show, she has even bigger dreams. What she wants to be when she growsup depends on her height, believe it or not. “If I stay short enough, aeronautical engineer/astronaut. If not, MythBuster!”

When asked how she would use her skills to solve one big world problem, she imagined a device to tackle world hunger: “FooderBot! A 3D printer that takes simple starches, sugars, and vitamins, then prints out nutritious, edible food.”

Her fellow makers are her biggest inspiration, including “Ladyada (Limor Fried),the MythBusters, Bre Pettis, John Edgar Park, and everyone else I see out thereshowing off the awesome stuff they’ve made.”

And for Sylvia, giving it a try is what it’s all about. On her show, she tackles allprojects with the same unwavering confidence, even those that can seem a bitdaunting. Her advice is simple: “After you get out there and make something,don’t give up! Failure is always an option. It really does happen, even to me!”

Fun Facts

Age: 10

Location: Northern California

Hero: My dad, TechNinja!

Favorite Accomplishment: Being invited and flown to be part of Maker Faire Kansas City 2011. Science City rocks!

Favorite Tool: Leatherman Squirt

(Make: Circuit Breaker)

Current Project: One maker show

per month and an Arduino-controlled helicopter

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