Bob Reilly working with students in the MakerSpace

Over the course of his fascinating career, Bob Reilly has worked in a variety of roles and industries — from robotics engineering and the medical field to education and history. He’s even dabbled in politics, serving as a senator representative, and in library science, working as the Director of the Pawling Library for a time. Many will also remember Reilly as the Academic Computer Coordinator here at Trinity-Pawling in the early 2000s. “I guess I haven’t quite decided what I want to be when I grow up,” he shared with a smile.

With his vast array of knowledge and expertise, Reilly was thrilled to return to Trinity-Pawling this year to serve as the MakerSpace Facilitator in the Gardiner Library and Learning Commons. Just over two years in the making, the School’s MakerSpace is a collaborative work area in Gardiner Library where faculty and students can engage in hands-on learning and discovery. The space is equipped with all the tools students need (and then some!) to design, create, prototype, and test — all within a safe learning environment.

As the MakerSpace Facilitator, Reilly doesn’t teach just one specific class. Instead, he has the opportunity to be a part of every class on campus, from history to physics. “I joke that I don’t have to go to work…I go to play,” Reilly shared. “I get to research, design, and promote interdisciplinary projects to make any class more active and hands-on. The work that the boys do here in the MakerSpace gives them a new perspective on what they’re learning in the classroom.”

Like building model ships to learn about maritime travel during the Age of Exploration in World History; or creating three dimensional models of the human digestive system in 7th Grade Science; or building radio-controlled race cars in First Year Physics. And those are just the beginning!

“Light bulb moments have to be my favorite part of this job,” Reilly shared. “When the boys actually get their race car to move or they solve a problem all on their own…when the material from class starts to click. That’s when I know I’m doing something right.”

For Reilly, the MakerSpace is an invaluable aspect of Trinity-Pawling’s academic environment. “Every student learns in a different way — this hands-on, learning by doing approach allows the students to dive in, explore with guidance, and learn a lot about themselves in the process.”

With the Winter Term well underway, Reilly looks forward to an exciting series of new projects, including building a functional telegraph, designing and constructing bridges from uncooked spaghetti to test weight, and even building a lie detector. He is also eager to be a resource for any and all Winter Projects. “The opportunities in the MakerSpace are truly endless,” Reilly concluded. “What can we build next?”

by Emma Christiantelli