Young Canadian inventor Ann Makosinski on her experiences as a mixed-race creator

Inventor, environmental activist, TEDx speaker, and more, Ann Makosinski has packed a pretty impressive resume during her lifetime — and she’s only 22. We caught up with the young inventor to hear more about her journey, experiences as a hapa, and latest projects.

Inventor, environmental activist, TEDx speaker, and more, Ann Makosinski has packed a pretty impressive resume during her lifetime — and she’s only 22. Cold Tea Collective caught up with the young inventor to hear more about her journey.

Her rise in the media

The Hollow Flashlight was the catalyst that garnered massive waves in the media. In 2013, Makosinski won a Google Science, competing with other students in the 15-16 age bracket. Her winning design? A flashlight powered using heat from the human hand. Following her win, Makosinski gained media attention and found herself being featured on Forbes’ 30 Under 30, presenting TEDxTalks, and even showing off a new creation on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.

See also: Six things we learned starting a company as Asian American founders

“[Winning the Google Science Fair] made me believe that anything was possible if I put my mind to it,” Makosinski said in an interview with Cold Tea Collective. “It opened up many opportunities and paths that I had only dreamed of, and it made me realize that it was just as — if not more — important to pursue interests and passions outside of school as it was to do my school homework.”

Makosinski’s natural curiosity, combined with her ambition and smarts, has granted her new opportunities that allowed her to be a part of new and exciting adventures. 

“Going to the Arctic for two weeks on an icebreaker ship — that trip changed my perspective on life,” she says. “I am over the moon to have been invited to join another expedition next year and adventure to the Antarctic!”

Growing up mixed-race

Growing up as a mixed-race Filipino Polish Canadian, Makosinski is uncertain whether her race played a part in her success. However, she does admit that the model minority myth may affect how she’s perceived by others.

“There is definitely the very old fashioned stereotype that because I’m partly Asian I’m smart — but why is that a bad thing?” she says. “If people think I’m smart, while really I am quite average, I assure you I see that as a plus.”

Regardless of what others think, however, Makosinski is proud of being a hapa. Originally a Hawaiian word, the term hapa has now popularized and used to refer to someone of mixed ethnic ancestry.

“I am proud!” Makosinski says. “There are not many of us.”

See also: Why I quit my job to create an ‘actually slim fit’ shirt for Asian American men

Creative Aspirations

Although the world sees her as a STEM professional, Makosinski says she wants to pursue other ventures in creative media. In addition to her current work, she plans to take on more projects involving film, acting, directing, and more. 

Her YouTube channel allows her to combine her interests while allowing viewers to get more insight her life.

“I would like to work in film in the future, for sure,” she adds. “I’ve been learning so much about it since day one.” Makosinski even throws in becoming an “old cat historian” or “the wrinkled hag who lives next door” as potential paths. You never know, right?

Current projects

Although she is open to other opportunities, there is one project that has been taking up her attention and time. Similar to her previous notable creations, the Hollow Flashlight and the eDrink, her latest project focuses on the use of alternative energies.

Makosinski has been working on a line of children’s toys relating to electronics and green energy. “I’m super excited,” she says. “I’ve been working on them for a year now and we are very close to signing a couple deals for the toys and some entertainment ideas.”

Reported by CNN, the toys make react when they are wound up, placed in the sun, or run underwater. These toys are meant to demonstrate different ways of generating power.

As for her future, what exactly is Makosinski’s end goal?

At the end of the day, I just want to create, tell stories, and make products that others can both be entertained and educated by. I want to grow my creative and innovative skills as much as possible during my lifetime, hopefully making a positive difference in other people’s lives through whatever work I end up pursuing in the future.”

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