The time has come for our Technology Coordinator, Devon Wells, to move on from Maydm. We wish him the best of luck in the future, and thank him for everything he has done to support and strengthen the Maydm mission. Devon shared his thoughts with us below.
Made by Them
“Convinced I was at the wrong address, I waited for some ray of certainty outside a small door wedged between bustling restaurants on King street in downtown Madison. As someone who is chronically late, I felt that familiar pang of guilt growing in my stomach. I was early, for the record, just not early enough to quell that feeling. Nervous feelings make for nervous interviews. I double checked the address on my phone, took in as much of the late autumn air as I could, and went inside.
What I found inside was not guilt, nor uncertainty. Instead, defiant brick walls rose out of polished wood, defining a well-lit, open space with co-working tables and friendly faces. It was what one would expect to see next to the Webster definition for “2016 Start Up,” but with no nerf guns or fake plants. Winnie found me right away. She looked at me as though she carried all of the passion of that King street office in her pocket. I knew little about the position I was applying for, only that it entailed teaching programming and computer science, and perhaps some additional operations work. These were things I had experience in, things that I thought would make me fit in. I wanted to fit in. I wanted to find a place where I could comfortably teach kids what I loved, work for a cause I believed in, surrounded by others who found joy in that. But I could tell right away, Maydm was bigger than that.
Now, nearly a year and an ungodly amount of caffeine later, I can safely say Maydm is probably the antithesis of fitting in.
Maydm taught me to create my own space, and more importantly it taught me to see myself working wonders in that space. I build and laugh and understand the necessity of my voice in that space. And finally, I share that space wholeheartedly with others so they can see themselves creating their own.
That is what Maydm is about. Permit me to sound like the stereotypical graduation ceremony speaker, I would cap this sentiment with the words of the first known computer programmer, Ada Lovelace:
“Imagination is the discovering faculty, pre-eminently. It is that which penetrates into the unseen worlds around us, the worlds of Science.”
As I wrap up my last days in the office, I can only look back on my time at Maydm with fondness. Though I will continue carrying the Maydm spirit on my adventures in the future, I couldn’t do justice with words (ironic, as so much of my job involved words) to the good times and friends I made in the last year. To every student I’ve had the honor of working with, whom more often than not made me the student. To our staff, Sam and Victoria, for listening when listening was invaluable, and then acting in spirited grace. To our wonderful interns and volunteers, for keeping me on my toes and lighting up the office. To all of the friends indirectly affiliated with Maydm with whom I’ve swapped emails, smiles, and ideas with. Also a special shout-out to Megan, our former communications intern, who always had my back and cried with me at Girls Coding Day after an amazing event. And most of all to Winnie, our beloved director, who pushed me to work in excellence, to never strive, only act. Thank you all for everything.
I write this post in hope of inspiring other creators, thinkers, and especially non-believers.”
Maydm Technology Coordinator, 2016-2017