Maria Melo Bento
Digital Fabrication Consultant
Portuguese American nationality, born in Boston, raised in the Azores Islands, Portugal. After finishing her Masters degree between Lisbon and Rome, Maria started working as an Architect in Barcelona. There she got introduced to the Maker movement through the Fab Lab Network, driven by professor Niel Gershenfeld Director of the MIT’s CBA. The interest for the field of Digital fabrication grew and Maria decided to become a Fab Academy certified Digital Fabrication instructor in 2015. Since then, being an active member of the network as brought her a lot of amazing experiences, specially associated with STEAM projects in the USA, South America, and Europe from the FabKids international workshops to being part of the support team at the UN representing the Floating Fab Project at the Solutions Summit 2015 and the CES – Girl’s Lounge in 2016.
“It [TIES] allows me to empower people across different backgrounds and age groups giving them tools and confidence to explore their own inventions.
Growing up at the Azores, a small group of islands in the middle of the Atlantic ocean, forced her to be resourceful, proud to be part of an unique little community of resilient people that learn to live with little at reach being truly inventive with alternative solutions for any given challenge. Being geographically isolated growing up made Maria a traveler by nature. Getting to know different people and explore new places and ways of thinking made her more versatile, detail focused and ultimately a better designer and teacher.
Maria has been building new fab labs from ground up all around the world teaching educators and students on how to become creators of their own inventions. Investing time in developing better methodologies and strategies for problem solving has been her main focus. Empowering people with creative tools and see them succeed has been a life changing and extremely rewarding experience for her. As a STEAM instructor teaching little kids how to actively use their own background and unique personality as creative input has become her latest personal challenge.