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Spotlight: Meredith Summs, MOUSE Program Manager - The LAMP

Spotlight: Meredith Summs, MOUSE Program Manager

By April 12, 2010 News No Comments

Meredith Summs

This month we interviewed Meredith Summs, the inspiring and vivacious program manager at MOUSE, a technology and education non-profit The LAMP has collaborated with on several occasions. Read on for wit and wonderment:

How did you get interested in media and technology?

Television was my babysitter – I think I first said “dada” to Burt Reynolds in Smokey and the Bandit. But I made the move from media-spectator to media-manipulator in college as the digital editing lab tech for the Anthropology Department. Now, I’m somewhat proudly that annoying friend who complains about exoticism in Avatar.

How would you describe the work you do with MOUSE?

You know how parents will trick their picky kids by hiding shredded vegetables in the spaghetti sauce?

Just last week I provided very-amateur background vocals for a group of MOUSE students who were reverse-prototyping Super Mario Bros using only construction paper, thumbtacks, a Flip video camera and a post-it note mustache (click here to watch).

While it may feel like a fun digression, they are secretly learning how to develop their own video game for their MOUSE Corps Legacy Project – a student-led design project addressing local and global needs through technology.

What surprises you the most about MOUSE students?

I thought I knew what a computer geek looks like, but I’ve yet to see a single pocket-protector in my 5 years here.  MOUSE students defy stereotypes.

What was the inspiration for your blog, neverslapthegiftdonkey.com?

I once blurted “never slap the gift donkey” when I couldn’t remember “never look a gift horse in the mouth”.  Because I also never miss an opportunity to make fun of myself, I embraced my mistake and registered neverslapthegiftdonkey.com (before anyone else could).

Four years in, a reader called it “the internet museum of whimsy”. For me, it’s a visual archive for the lovely and bizarre things I find online (art, animation, design, typography, puppetry, cryptozoology etc.) and a place for me share my own projects.

What advice would you give someone who wants to set up their own website?

You don’t need to reinvent the wheel.  There’s a vast menagerie of free and open-source web publishing platforms (like WordPress and Drupal), each with large user communities online ready to give tech support, templates and nifty plug-ins.

Also, back up your website every time you think of it; seriously, go back it up right now…

Any plans for the summer, or things you’re really excited about right now?

Look for us at the ISTE (International Society for Technology and Education) conference in Denver this June!  A group of super-star MOUSE Squad students will present on “Digital Youth Leadership” during the Student Showcase.

Click here to learn more about  MOUSE and The LAMP’s  most recent collaboration!