The original was first displayed by the late and legendary Veronica M. Muzic, a former English instructor, longtime college administrator and (with husband, Bill) a noteworthy donor to the makerspace. The Williamsport resident used centuries-old hemlock in his replicated version, which was appropriately bought by college President Davie Jane Gilmour (among the colleagues whom Muzic embraced and inspired) and displayed at a June 2019 life celebration on campus.
O’Koren earned a bachelor’s degree in applied technology studies in May. He focused his learning on automation, electronics and networking, and that is apparent in one of his latest makerspace projects: an automated coin identifier, designed to bring order to the chaos of pocket change – or entire collections.
Standing by the churning CNC router on a late-winter afternoon, he shows off a collaborative showpiece: a breathtakingly intricate topographical map of Pennsylvania etched in 1830s barn wood and destined for the Williamsport/Lycoming Chamber of Commerce Visitors Bureau.
“The Dr. Welch Workshop has taught me that my path to happiness is finding a place that I can share my knowledge with others.”
Like LeGeyt and Peters, he finds reward in passing along his bountiful talents and insight.
“The makerspace has given me the blessing of many quality friendships that will result in long-lasting relationships,” O’Koren says. “But most importantly, the Dr. Welch Workshop has taught me that my path to happiness is finding a place that I can share my knowledge with others and instill in them the same confidence that the makerspace did for me.”
A regular since the facility’s beginnings, he has capably represented the makerspace in a YouTube video and before an April 2019 gathering of Williamsport Technical Institute alumni, exhibited a honeycomb warmer a month later at Open House, and volunteered to teach soldering and other skills at makerspace workshops. His demeanor is one of pure helpfulness, furthering the cooperative tone that flows throughout the creative arena.
“We have our own little family in here. It’s a great place to bounce things off one another,” LeGeyt says, a perspective shared by Peters.
“You don’t have to know what you’re doing,” he notes. “There’s so much knowledge in one place, so many different fields represented in one area, such a diversity of people.
“All the tools are there; materials, too – metal, wood, vinyl – and all that’s left to do is ask, ‘Can you show me?’”