Black Makers Month: John Glass

Education Science Technology
Black Makers Month: John Glass

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John is my doppleganger. He works at NASA. That’s cool! He is an outer-space food packaging expert, a motocrosser, and an Arduino hacker. We all take packaging stuff for granted, but I can assure you that there are many challenging trade-offs. It’s great that someone as talented as John is working on these critical issues. I like the motocross and Arduino hobbies, too! I’m wondering if he’ll find a way to combine all those talents? I did hear that John has an Arduino project involving motocross. Good start! If only there was a way to get NASA involved with that project…

BlackMakerMonth_BadgeHere’s more about John:

John Glass received a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering Technology in 2008 and an M.S. in Packaging Science in 2010 from the Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, NY, and has been the Packaging Engineer for the Space Food Systems Laboratory at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, TX since October 2010.

During his time at RIT, he was a Research Assistant at the American Packaging Corporation’s Center for Packaging Innovation. There, he performed characterization testing on packaging materials as well as a number of advanced research projects. These included the development of the foam life support protection system for NASA’s Constellation class space suit in EVA configuration as well as his thesis (The Development of a low-cost Anoxic Enclosure for the Preservation of Daguerreotypes). In addition, Mr. Glass was an active member of the Powertrain Group on the RIT Formula SAE Racing Team.

Mr. Glass’ responsibilities at NASA include maintenance of the existing food packaging system for the International Space Station as well as the research and development of new packaging technologies for future long duration missions. His tasks include maintaining packaging equipment, collaborating with manufacturers to ensure sufficient stock of raw materials, and maintaining relevant engineering drawings. His research has so far included reviewing/evaluating potential ultra-high barrier packaging materials for NASA use and developing contingency food packaging systems for suited NASA crew.

44 thoughts on “Black Makers Month: John Glass

  1. Who cares says:

    ready? every month. Great job :-(

    1. SkinColor says:

      This “black makers month” is the worst idea Make ever came up with. Some people see this as special recognition just because someone’s skin is a different color. Well, that certainly doesn’t promote unity, instead it promotes differences and special privelege base on something other than one’s skills. I guess Make is into racial quotas.

      1. M80 says:

        How about just a cool guy that makes cool stuff month. Jeez.

  2. Sky Masterson says:

    Separating by race can do nothing but drive us apart. I want to hear what John Glass, the insanely cool maker is making, not what John Glass the Black Man is making.

    Don’t knuckle under to political correctness, in this case it is 100% wrong.

    1. joe says:

      Whatever, dude.

      John Glass the insanely cool maker cannot be separated from John Glass the Black person. Both are part of his personal identity. Yes, he is an awesome maker doing awesome work, but for you to say only half of his personal story is worth hearing about is insulting.

  3. Lux Lee says:

    I like to know more about the The Development of a low-cost Anoxic Enclosure for the Preservation of Daguerreotypes. Because daguerreotypes are cool.

  4. Huh says:

    It is the month we Black Americans celebrate our American heritage(or one of the months). It is not uncommon to recognize Euro-American/Native-American/the various Asian groups or groups based on gender or sexual preference or age in the US. We all have differences, some based on skin color/heritage. It is okay to point them out. Pretending they don’t exist makes no sense. I do think, however, that when you can see a picture of someone you don’t need to say what their race is(of course this is not always the case). Its like if I were to go to Europe or somewhere else, I wouldn’t say I am African-American. I would just say I am an American(because my skin color and other features can be easily seen).

    But to the info: I never thought about the skills needed to package food for NASA programs. I guess I assumed they were handled by regular ole food manufacturing/packaging companies. Also, the Arduino Hacker bit sounds interesting. I think I’ll go look that up now.

    1. Erkko says:

      Try having a white month, and you’ll be in a world of trouble. It’s not OK, unless hypocricy has become the norm recently. The difference between nationality themes and racial themes is that national/cultural heritage is not ingrained in what you are even though they’re a part of who you are. You can become a part of another culture if you want to – national/cultural heritage is not exclusive. A white man can’t become black, or vice versa.

      That’s why it’s OK to have an Irish week, but not okay to have a black month, or white month, or yellow or red month. Positive discrimination is still a type of discrimination that shouldn’t exist according to our social norms. It’s different from simply aknowledging that there are differences – it’s placing some people first and others last because of what they are, and in this case that’s called racism.

      If it’s by sex, then it’s sexism, and if by sexual preferences it’s some other form of bigotry that I don’t know the name of. Yes – technically having a gay pride parade is positive discrimination in the same sense as racism, but we acccept it because I think people feel we owe them that much. But fundamentally, should we? Isn’t that just another form of us vs. them? Shouldn’t we simply treat people as equals and just take their differences as facts?

      1. Steve Olsen (@Beaverbeaver) says:

        No. You can’t have a white history month because we have it every month. This is the basic concept some people don’t get. The history taught in schools is Euro-Centric. The maps are too.

        It’s the same thing as BET and WET. EVERY STATION ON TV EVER WAS W.E.T. BEFORE!!! That is why they made a BET. I believe we are equal, you and me and everyone, but that does not in any way shape or form mean people are treated equally.

        These hypothetical situations were you propose the inverse and say black people would complain… bullshit. As a white person, speaking for myself, it is difficult to fully grasp the concept that not everyone experiences the same thing as mine. I am no pro and I am not in any way trying to present myself as one… but if I had to present the argument in a less dramatic manner let’s pretend what we were complaining about is the temperature of the room. Some people feel like the room is perfect, some people feel like the room is too hot, and others too cold. What temperature should the room be? This is what is happening. People like yourself feel the room is just right and you are essentially denying the fact that other people have a different experience because for you it’s great… everyone’s equal… great! No… 1968 is not ancient history.

        I’m just riffin here, no hate or anything but things just aren’t treated as equally as we imagine even though as people we are all equal.

      2. Huh says:

        Irish American Heritage Month(not week) is in March.

        If Euro-Americans want to have a single non-ethnic based heritage celebration(like African Americans-as we largely do not know our ethnic heritages and so can not have individual ethnic heritage celebrations) then it is up to you all to set the dates(it isn’t illegal after all).

        Also, the commenter above me stated, this is a Euro-centric nation(our education teaches European ideologies-or “Western Ideologies” as the norm(makes sense due to the larger population being of European descent-But the rest of us need to insert our own views/story into the American framework too. But no one is forcing any one to celebrate any of our official or non official holidays.

  5. Charlie says:

    I must have missed White Makers Month. WTF are you thinking?

  6. Poet says:

    To make this whole racial thing even less important lets just celibate makers. A creation or modification doesn’t stop or start because of what a maker is, but what a maker can do. Creativity and inspiration can take various forms, like the makers and hackers who take the challenge. Learning and experience are gathered when chances are taken and ideas are tried, some times you succeed and some time a fail occurs.
    IDIC to you Trekies and Trekkers out there.

  7. stephen rainsbury says:

    So what about Female makers month? Gay makers month? Hispanic makers month? Asian makers month? Red necks? Left handed? Jewish? Catholic? One armed? Red-headed? sorry forgot Australian.

  8. stephen rainsbury says:

    And there I was happily thinking at least Make is somewhere that everybody is equal. This is really mucked up guys.

  9. Aldria Walker says:

    I just had to post something about this issue. And that’s saying a lot for me. I’m the person who’s always saying I need to post, comment or share something, but never, ever get around to it. This time, I’m actually doing it.

    I’ve been reading the Black Maker profiles and by extension, the comments. I’ve read how this blog is divisive, racist, ill-conceived, un-necessary, etc, etc. Reading between the lines, I also believe “uncomfortable”. I can’t say I’m surprised. The easiest way for us to believe that the utopia we’ve always dreamed the world could be exists is by simply not acknowledging that, yes, some issues do still exist. For example, race or racism did not disappear because we have a two term Black president. And just because you don’t see or feel it yourself, doesn’t, mean it isn’t there. Now, understand me. I’m in NO way saying that ANYONE who has expressed negative feelings towards this blog is racist. Far from it. Reading your posts, it’s obvious you all mean well and truly wish this wasn’t an issue.

    Unfortunately, I have to politely disagree with the majority of the comments. I do strongly feel, as most of you do, that race shouldn’t matter. But it does. Maybe not to you (until you’re in a “Black or Brown” part of town ), but it matters a great deal to me and others like me.

    Just so you know me, I was raised in a two parent home, in the suburbs. I went to the “average” American high school and had the “average” American experiences. I’ve work, lived and been to a lot of places where I was the only Black person, the only female or the only Black female and have been comfortable in all those situations because I’m just that type of person. Yet, even now, with wanting to live in that color-blind society promised by Star Trek, when I saw this blog, I immediately click on it. I wanted to know about these people who I felt instant connections with.

    When breakdancing, pop-locking or rap first came out, do you remember how you felt when you first saw a White person doing them? Now multiply that feeling by 10. That’s how I, Miss Loves-The-Idea-That-It-Shouldn’t-Matter, feel when I see a dark skinned woman on a TV show, as a lead in a movie, in the sciences or as an astronaut. I identify with that person. I learn about them. I pray for their acceptance in mainstream society. Because their acceptance, in a small way, means I’m accepted. And I can tell you that just about every Black person I know does this to some extent. We look for the Black face in a crowd. Why, you may ask? Because, no matter how many opportunities the world tells me I have, I still know that people like me are not the norm in the situations I mentioned before. I know I don’t meet the standard of beauty the majority of the world deems worthy of being desired. I know that a great many people, no matter how well meaning, think they know me because they have an expectation about the things that I’m supposed to like, listen to, read, know about, etc., based simply on the color of my skin.

    Some of you say, tongue in cheek, that maybe there should be a White Maker’s day. There is. Every day of your life. And mine. When I started researching Makerspaces and the maker movement, 95% of the videos and photo ops told me a story 99% of you wouldn’t have even thought about. And that’s okay because it’s not your problem. Getting more faces like mine to represent “Makers” is something I, and people like me have to work on. Which is why I was excited to see there were others like me.

    So those Black Makers that people feel shouldn’t be any different from anyone else. You’re right. They shouldn’t be. But they are. They are role models to every Black and Brown child out there might have caught a glimpse of the JPL control room on the night of the Mars Rover landing and didn’t see a face like his, but was ecstatic to learn that the head of NASA looks like his dad. Or just to know that there is a Black outer space food packaging expert makes them feel like, “this could be for me”. We’ve all grown up with the words “You can be anything you want” in our heads, but for some, those are only words. They’ve lived every day with someone or something reminding them that those are only words. Until you can show them a role model they can relate to, a face, their face, it truly doesn’t sink in that that phrase includes someone like them.

    So no, race doesn’t matter. But it does. So please understand and be patient with the rest of the world as we catch up to you.

    1. Black Makers Month: John Glass Matt Richardson says:

      Thank you for sharing, Aldria.

    2. JGlass says:

      In the parlance of the internet: <3.
      Thank you.

    3. mexoplex says:

      THANK YOU! !@#$%^&* right!

    4. make says:

      You may feel alone, but the injustices of evil people do not justify unethical behaviour.
      Where I live it is considered taboo to identify someone as a color, and although you may feel less connected to different looking people it is wrong to use this as an excuse to isolate yourself.

      I admire Obama in many ways because as he seems to honestly to care for people, but I don’t think his political complacency with Bush’s crazy legacy policies will improve the US. Honestly, I felt it was like Obama v.s “Mr. Burns” in the election, and if there was a third choice both candidates would have likely lost.

      To be honest, the corporate drive behind counter-culture movements like Hip-Hop Rap often exploit naive kids. Convincing people to believe they belong some-place more valuable than where they actually live is just a fantasy, but it seems especially damaging to diminish someone’s sense of self-worth with anti-social rhetoric. Like it or not, Obama shattered this illusion to set a new standard of what society expects from young people.

      I may be a terrible person by some peoples standards,
      but I expect more from you than excuses of why you don’t feel beautiful creating art, your own music, or things that help people. Disingenuous sycophants will not help you find happiness, as they are trying to sell you something you really shouldn’t buy. I expected far better behaviour from Makzine… =(

      1. Aldria says:

        Make, I’m not sure you entirely understood what I was trying to say, but this is the last comment I’ll make on this issue on this blog. This is not the place for it. Let’s get back to Making!

        1. Aldria says:

          Okay, no apostrophe on that “lets”.

  10. someguyinbaltimore says:

    Like the blog and I like the idea. It’s hard to follow a comment as insightful as Aldria’s. But she summed it up pretty nicely. Speaking from both sides of the fence. Great job Kipp!

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Kipp Bradford is a technology consultant and entrepreneur with a passion for making things. He is the Senior Design Engineer and Lecturer in Engineering at Brown University, where he teaches several engineering design and entrepreneurship courses. Kipp is also on the Technical Advisory Board for Make Magazine.

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