Design to Make a Difference (D2MD) is a design/engineering program that combines Maker-Education with altruism. The founders, Graig Marx and Dave Piemme of MSON member school Winchester Thurston, strive to increase STEM Equity through professional development for other teachers, a platform to showcase student work, and access to equipment and materials. Devotees of project-based learning and inclusion in STEM, Graig and Dave now serve 40 schools ranging from elementary to high school.

The COVID-19 pandemic has allowed D2MD to start to serve schools beyond the Pittsburgh area. They are offering free 3D printers and other equipment, plus training on those tools, to schools with limited resources. They also offer—to all schools—training on creating a Makerspace program, guidance on project-based learning, and the opportunity for students to engage in a project showcase.

Claire sat down with Graig and Dave to hear about D2MD. The interview covers the program’s origin story, amazing student projects that have a real-world impact, how student-centered, project-based learning leads to inclusion in STEM, teaching hands-on Makerspace work in a hybrid setting, how to join them—and Claire’s on-the-spot design challenge.