PhD student Dina El-Zanfaly studies learning through making — with one eye on her native Egypt.
It was another testy day in the post-revolution Cairo of 2012, with protestors and police crowding streets that threatened to erupt into violence.
Although she was nearly 5,500 miles away in Cambridge, Mass., MIT graduate student Dina El-Zanfaly was worried. She was thinking of the fab lab she helped found in Cairo — a community-based maker space where anyone can come in, learn to make anything using the lab’s machinery and tools, and work on any project they want. The lab wasn’t only a physical space for Egyptian makers; it was a grassroots movement — just like the Egyptian revolution — to create a community of makers in Egypt from scratch. So, like any concerned parent, El-Zanfaly called the lab’s director to make sure everything was all right.