As told to Kasey Woo
Sam Good is a fourth-year civil and environmental engineering student who was inspired to help improve water quality after her experience attending a high school in China, where people have to boil water to avoid bacteria. Good enrolled in Design 22, taught by Chris Myers, senior lab technician in the CITRIS Invention Lab. Senior artist Dan Chapman also assists students with Invention Lab projects. The course led Good to become a lab “superuser,” as she relates below.
One of the projects for Design 22 was a kinetic sculpture. I made the house from “Up” so that it could really go up with balloons. I was supposed to take rotational motion and convert it into linear motion — it kind of worked but not as well as I wanted it to, into something I could show all my friends and be very proud of.
The first time I came to the Invention Lab, Chris sat down with me for three hours. We drew my entire project several times and he said, “If we do this, this is exactly how it’ll work.” I worked on it with Dan and he said, “What happens if you move this part over here or this part over here?” It was nice to get the sense that these people were fully vested in your project becoming anything you wanted it to be.
Being a superuser has been very rewarding. It’s so nice to be able to show people how to do stuff or watch them do projects and be like, “I ran into this issue and this is how I fixed it.” It’s nice to be able to pass on advice.
The only reason that I can do what I can do as a superuser is because of all the help that I’ve gotten from the CITRIS Invention Lab, which is why I love this space so much. It’s such a helpful place with good vibes only, and there’s nothing wrong with asking for help and people are so supportive.
Photo: Kuan-Ju Wu
The Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS) and the Banatao Institute drive interdisciplinary innovation for social good with faculty researchers and students from four University of California campuses – Berkeley, Davis, Merced, and Santa Cruz – along with public and private partners.
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