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Meet our Team

Travis

Founder

Travis Sluss found his first start in the technology industry printing labels for his local community at age 11. A few years later Travis was the youngest intern a New York City computer-consulting firm had ever accepted. That summer he built his first computer and his passion for technology was ignited. Following his fervor for all things tech, Travis spent several years working for Apple and multiple production companies. While with Apple and working in the production industries Travis had the opportunity to observe the ways in which technology enhances lives and creativity. Travis began MakeInspires in 2011 with the goal of empowering people and organizations with technology education. 

Travis Sluss was raised in Purchase, NY, and attended Purchase College. Travis has traveled to over a dozen countries and over 30 states for various technology-based work, including as a sound engineer for rock and roll bands like the Spin Doctors.

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Director of Education &
Mamaroneck Makerspace Manager

Caleb’s Passion for Technology and the Arts started as a child using Sketch-up, making short films in iMovie, and creating music in GarageBand. His love of music technology resulted in his relocation from Vermont to Westchester County to study Music Production at the Purchase College Music Conservatory where he was introduced to 3D art and programming.

From a family of educators, Caleb believes that art is an essential part of a child’s education and that its presence in STEAM will enhance the lives and well-being of the children of today and the adults of tomorrow. 

Caleb leads the progression of our educational programs, staffing, training and more and is pursuing his MSEd with a concentration in Childhood Education at Iona University. In his free time, he continues to work on professional music productions, visual art, and films.

Deirdre

Chappaqua

Makerspace Manager

Deirdre has been a hands-on maker her whole life, learning to push the pedal of a sewing machine only shortly after walking. Her zeal for technology was fostered through her early education with programs like FIRST Robotics, but also through countless personal projects spanning from dismantling (paper) printers for fun to building her own 3D printer from scratch.

Following her interest in engineering, Deirdre went on to receive her BSc in Bioengineering/Computer Science from Northeastern University, and her MA in Design Products from the Royal College of Art.

Deirdre has done it all, from R&D for surgical devices, to web development, to scenic design. Through these experiences, makerspaces have held a special place in her heart, creating a safe space to foster creativity and curiosity. Now, as the manager of MakeInspires Chappaqua, Deirdre aims to create a space to provide accessible and equitable opportunities to all makers.

Sarah

Mamaroneck

Assistant Manager

Sarah brings a unique skill set to the Makerspace as a performing artist, photographer and video editor. Since graduating from the University of Connecticut with a BFA in Acting, Sarah has guest starred on TV shows such as "Law & Order: SVU,” (NBC) “Gaslit,” (Starz) and “The Goldbergs” (ABC). Between takes, Sarah took an interest in the role of Makers behind the camera.

 In 2018 she became the proud owner of a SONY camera, which she uses for corporate industrials, event photography, and various portraits of her handsome terrier mix, Ranger Steve. 

As a left-brained creative type, Sarah found that art made learning math and science accessible to her. She cites performing Tom Lehrer’s “Periodic Table Song” to her 6th grade science class as an early example of this. Sarah believes that art is a bridge to understanding complex subjects, and is delighted to see that reflected in the MakeInspires classroom.

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NYC

Makerspace Manager

Daniel Elliott has always had a passion for making things. He started building computers and doing woodworking with his dad since he was a teenager. Over a decade later after he was able to turn these skills alongside his lifelong passion for Lego into a career at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center. Daniel helped to create Space Camp: Robotics. It was there that he designed curriculum for students from over eighty countries and helped achieve a Guinness World Record for most model rockets launched simultaneously.

After Space Camp, he worked as a NASA contractor supporting ground systems for the International Space Station. He returned to education to work as an Engineering and Cyber Security instructor and Makerspace Coordinator at the Alabama School of Cyber Technology and Engineering before joining the MakeInspires team in March 2024. He considers himself a lifelong learner and tinkerer with too many interests to list.   His primary pursuits at the moment are 3D printing, physical computing with Raspberry Pi and Arduino, model rocketry, and sewing.

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Early Childhood

Coordinator

Dr. Patricia Vardin, Coordinator and Curriculum Designer at MakeInspires Early Childhood STEAM Program, retired as Associate Professor and Director of Early Childhood Education at Manhattanville College after two decades. She co-directed Early Childhood conferences and initiated the STEAM Institute. A former President of the New York State Association of Early Childhood Teacher Educators and a founder of the National Association of Early Childhood Teacher Educators, she's lauded for her work on the Comprehensive Curriculum Model in NYC and the ChildChart assessment system.

Dr. Vardin has published educational materials, spoken at conferences, consulted for organizations, and received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Who’s Who. She's also an avid violinist and co-founded The New Amsterdam Symphony Orchestra.

Smokey Photo

Smokey

MakeInspires Mascot

Meet Smokey, our paw-some STEAM guru at MakeInspires! 

She joined us back in 2016 and fell in love with 3D printer serenades as well as light reflections off of iPad screens. But her true passion? Our fantastic students (and sniffing out secret pizza stashes)!

Smokey: Our 4-legged innovator with a taste for tech and a nose for leftover treasures.

Open Positions

MakeInspires is always accepting cover letters and resumes for talented instructors and interns. Interested in joining the MakeInspires Team? Submit this form and we'll be in touch within a day or two.

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