- We are 12 kid-powered chapters in the USA, Australia, and Philippines inspiring the world to Fold for Good.
- We advocate for STEM through the study of folding.
- We engage in Folding for Good through community service (which is really undercover STEM)
Our mission: To inspire learners to think outside the book about STEM studies by studying folding. We inspire the world to fold for good.
Founder and CEO
Origami Salami & Folding for Good
First, I am just a curious self-taught folder. It started with a gift of an origami kit around April 2001. I now have tubs and bins of models. And, along the way, I started to wonder about the STEM between the folds. Knowing that the United States has fallen critically behind other countries in the sciences, that there are only one million minutes of high school, and that therefore American youth need to be more engaged in STEM studies at very early ages, I decided to do something about it by publishing my personal take on it.
Here is an innovative way to encourage learners to stick with STEM subjects long enough to get to the very cool applications in the sciences that lie years ahead in college and in one’s lifelong career. In my program, I link paper folding with scientific applications so that even the earliest participant discovers surprising scientific possibilities that lie hidden in a “hobby” --- for example,we study stuff like satellite tethers (the simple accordion fold), the new heart stent (adapted from the water bomb base), air bags, the human brain (folded so that more information can be stored), proteins (one mis-fold and disease ensues), and RNA.
The internet is cluttered with information about folding, but nowhere is it neatly organized in a for-credit format for consumption by us students, the up-and-coming scientists and innovators. So, one of my goals became to put together a great, funtabulous course that students sentenced to that place called school could get their hands on. My course would help to get the adventure back into their scientific minds, I hoped. I could influence other students to stick with STEM by writing a course about my self-taught hobby of paper folding and how folding has intricate and beautiful and yes, profoundly practical, scientific applications. Ha! But to get published....
In fact, it happened. I developed a digital course called, "Investigation: Paper Engineering" for K-12 curriculum publisher Lincoln Interactive. IPE targets the middle school market, but is easily adapted for elementary and high school students. Though the course is fully digital, it comes with a toolkit containing assorted papers and items required to complete the basic assignments. IPE went live on June1, 2011 and is full of fascinating tidbits about the world history of paper folding, the role of paper engineers and what it takes to become one, societies and clubs dedicated to origami, and a series of really cool folding projects. Take this course and you will find news you can use as a springboard to creative STEM studies that only your unique mind could imagine.
In IPE, I organize materials in a way that exceeds educational standards but is so fascinating and simple to deliver that both teachers and students will look forward to working together, every day, in STEM exploration through folding. The desired outcome is that students want to know more, and have been excited about the possibilities. And teachers will have no fear of instructing students because the material is easy to follow, hands-on, and tons of creative fun.The whole thing is spatial, and 3-D skills are critical for engineering.
Students will also know that their ideas are valuable and that if studying paper folding has led to remarkable scientific advancement, then other “hobbies” must have similar potential that is yet to be discovered. ALL ideas are valuable to the global scientific community. And most especially the really crazy ideas, the novel connections that are forerunners of invention.
STEM studies lead to inventions and innovations which improve the human condition, so I have a component called, "Folding for Good." Always do good in the world and seek to improve it. Folding for Good is where we hit the road and dig into some community service that takes STEM right to the doorsteps of organizations around town. Undercover STEM goes over quite well, as you can see from my events archive!
And all the while, we make important connections between folding and STEM applications. My project does not suggest perfect folding. It is the process, collaboration with others, investigation of STEM subjects and the art of it, and community outreach that are important.
I formally launched this program for a research project. Now, three years later, Origami Salami has been recognized on local, regional, and national levels and has empowered 9 other student leaders in the US and Australia. It is nice to be in good company.
"Calista has gone on to distinguish herself among her peers as a pioneer and a leader in advocating STEM education."
-- The Pennsylvania Infrastructure Technology Alliance
Origami heart stent
developed by Zhong You and Kaori Kuribayashi-Shigetomi,
Oxford University, UK
This heart stent uses the origami "waterbomb base" to collapse the device until it is woven into position to hold an artery open.
One of the design challenges with NASA's NuSTAR-the Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array-was to build a low cost structure with a long focal length, while keeping it compact enough to fit inside the Pegasus launch rocket. So, a folding truss system, which will be deployed after NuSTAR reaches orbit, was created.
Unlocking the mysteries of how DNA folds correctly and what happens when genes mis-fold