Alexis Noel is the Shop Manager and in the core leadership group for Roswell Firelabs. She keeps track of inventory acquired, provides shop training, and looks for donations for materials desired by members. Some of the equipment that has been donated needs to be cleaned and refurbished. Some of the equipment, woodworking equipment for instance, needs to be assessed to determine that it is usable. Alexis, the daughter of Chiropractors, is from Chapel Hill, North Carolina. She came to Atlanta to attend Georgia Tech, where she studied mechanical engineering, then went on to earn her PhD.
How did you get into this unique role with Roswell Firelabs?
“During my years of working on my degree at Georgia Tech, they started a maker space. That was the first time I heard of it. “
Alexis says, “The maker space, which we called the ‘Invention studio’, began in one tiny room with a waterjet machine – it has the ability to cut just about anything: metals, plastics, ceramics. I was fascinated with it! It was students teaching students. This grew to 140 students in 6 rooms – completely run by students.” From that experience, Alexis learned how to grow and develop a maker space.
“I was in charge of fixing and maintaining our legion of 3D printers, as well as teaching new students how to use equipment such as laser cutters, sewing machines, and woodworking equipment. I loved the learning/teaching environment.”
During this involvement with the Invention Studio, Alexis was able to dabble in different areas of building and engineering. From that, she built – from scratch – an acoustic guitar. In another project, she used her welding and blacksmith know-how to craft garden gates.
How did you first become interested in mechanical engineering?
As a kid, Alexis says she was always into crafts. She made many things from popsicle sticks.
“One year for Christmas, all I wanted was a box of springs.”
In her high school physics class, the students made “mousetrap” cars. She attributes that project to her pursuit of a degree in mechanical engineering.
Alexis currently works in bio-mechanics for GTRI (Georgia Tech Research Institute) and resides in Roswell.
What interests you about Roswell Fire Labs?
These days, Alexis is passionate about teaching. In her role at RFL, she wants to interact with the local schools. Specifically, she envisions an after-school program to get youth involved at RFL.
To help Alexis and the other members of Roswell Fire Labs achieve their goals, there is still a focus on making the community aware of the benefits to the community and to identify donations needed. Alexis says that the space needs cleaning supplies; basic hand tools like wrenches, screwdrivers and clamps; woodshop tools like bandsaws and circular saws; sewing machines and tools like scissors, seam rippers, and measuring tapes; soldering irons for electronics work; consumables like paint, printer paper. Of course, monetary donations are also welcome. Click here to donate via the website, or email firstname.lastname@example.org to donate equipment or supplies.