Hi! My name is Mel. I’ve been called a hacker by other hackers. Pressed for a short job description, I would say I’m a midwife of makers. I’ve also been called an engineer (of the electrical, computer, and software varieties), community manager, writer, teacher (primarily at the undergraduate, graduate, and faculty-development levels). I love to write, teach, draw research comics, dance, move, and make things, and my career has mostly been about helping others do the same. I blog at melchua.com/blog, which is a work in progress I could use some help with.
My quest is to make a world where makers make themselves, and I’m particularly intrigued with the space between how hackers learn and how engineers are taught. Transforming academic culture is a challenge I’ve chosen to tackle because of its great power to influence growth and access for changemakers of all sorts.
I have been told that my “happy is extremely loud,” but I’m also Deaf, so… sure! Here’s how to make events accessible to me. If you’re looking for my technical ASL vocabulary, you’ll find most of it in ASLCore’s branches for engineering and computing, both of which I served as content expert for, and this sentence clause is so that I don’t end on a preposition.
Mel Chua is a contagiously enthusiastic hacker, scholar, and perpetual motion machine. She is an auditory low-pass filter and multimodal polyglot currently working at the Biomedical Engineering department of Georgia Tech in the Studio for Transforming Engineering Learning and Research (STELAR) while completing her Ph.D. at Purdue University’s School of Engineering Education. Mel received her B.S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Olin College of Engineering and spent several years in the open source software and hardware industry before returning to academia. Mel’s research focuses on faculty development, learning in hacker/maker communities, embodied qualitative research methodologies, and prototyping alternate ontologies of curricular culture in engineering education.
This website is a quick hack put up late at night so I’d have a working website before going to Strange Loop. Similarly, the blog is a late-night hack (with thanks to my friend Giordon Stark) so my old posts would be findable somewhere.
Let’s just say that I planned my transition from Wordpress to static sites… poorly, and there are reasons I am not and never should be a sysadmin. If anyone’s interested in helping me finish the visual design and/or technical implementation of this site (fairly straightforward Jekyll/blog), I’m looking to hire someone – please get in touch! (Seriously, I need help with this; I keep using it as an excuse to procrastinate on my dissertation revisions.)