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Isabel Pietri a sophomore at Kelvyn Park High School in Chicago won a chance to work with Evanston jewelry designer Christopher Duquet through Northwestern University’s FUSE program, a series of challenges designed to get students excited about science, technology, engineering, arts/design and mathematics.
The experience changed the way she thought about math and science and sparked a newfound interest in computer-based art.
“At first my ideas were really simple, but after talking with Christopher they got better,” Isabel said in a newly released video that showcases her collaboration with Mr. Duquet. “I had no idea I could do something so technical and complicated.”
Also an ongoing research project studying youth learning and engagement, FUSE was co-created by Northwestern professors Kemi Jona and Reed Stevens at Northwestern’s School of Education and Social Policy. The program targets children who don’t think they are interested in math or science or believe they aren’t “good” at it.
Mr. Duquet, the owner of Christopher Duquet Fine Jewelry Design, collaborated with Professors Jona and Stevens to develop a FUSE challenge, “Jewelry Designer,” in which teens design their own earrings, bracelets and other jewelry, print them out on a 3D printer, and wear them home.
Mr. Duquet said he was thrilled to be able to reach thousands of students through the FUSE activity. But he took his project a step further by sponsoring a design contest and casting the winner’s piece in silver.
“It was a way to give back to kids who are interested in doing something artistic, creative and entrepreneurial in nature,” Mr. Duquet said. “Working with Christopher has been very productive and rewarding,” Prof. Jona said. “His passion and creativity has helped make Jewelry Designer among the most popular FUSE challenges, and it has been a very powerful way to help girls get interested in and develop STEAM skills.”