OSHWA recently announced a call for Open Hardware Trailblazer Fellows. Thanks to the generous support of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, OSHWA is taking a giant step towards expanding open source hardware in academia through the Open Hardware Trailblazer Fellows initiative. The one-year fellowship provides grants to individuals who are leading the way as open source hardware expands into academia. The fellows will document their experience of making open source hardware in academia to create a library of resources for others to follow.

The call was incredibly competitive. We received truly amazing submissions. The fellows were chosen by the program’s mentors and an OSHWA board selection committee. 

Congratulations to the Open Hardware Trailblazer Fellows!

Dr. AnnMarie Thomas is a Professor at the University of St. Thomas, in the School of Engineering (Mechanical Engineering) and the Opus College of Business (Entrepreneurship.) She is the director of the Playful Learning Lab, a multidisciplinary undergraduate research group focusing on the intersection of K-12 education, art, and technology. She is the co-creator of Squishy Circuits, and author of “Making Makers: Kids, Tools, and the Future of Innovation.” She served as the founding executive director of the Maker Education Initiative, and is the co-founder and executive director of OK Go Sandbox. Current collaborators include Metro Deaf School and the Minnesota Children Museum.


Dr. Carlotta A. Berry (she/her) is a professor at the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. Dr. Berry has always been an advocate for multidisciplinary robotics education as well as diversifying STEM. As part of her efforts, she co-founded the multidisciplinary minor in robotics and Rose building undergraduate diversity scholarship and professional development program. During her recent sabbatical, she also co-founded Black In Engineering and Black In Robotics non-profit organizations and started an educational consulting company, NoireSTEMinist®. She has degrees in mathematics and electrical engineering from Spelman College, Georgia Tech, Wayne State University, and Vanderbilt University. Dr. Berry has given extensive service to her community and profession through FIRST robotics, VEX robotics, Girl Scouts, IEEE and the American Society of Engineering Education. She has numerous awards for her work and was recently recognized as an ASEE fellow and TechPoint Foundation For Youth Bridge Builder.

Dahl Winters (she/her) has been a leader in science R&D and technology initiatives with over 15 years of experience in IT and systems development services. She brings a wealth of expertise with strengths in big data, artificial intelligence, and innovation strategies for research and development. Dahl obtained her Bachelor of Science in Biology from Duke University where she received the Reginaldo Howard full-tuition scholarship for academic merit and leadership. She also holds a Master of Science in Ecology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she was a predoctoral fellow of the National Science Foundation. She is currently completing Ph.D work in Systems Engineering from Colorado State University. Dahl is also an active member of the OpenAir Collective, a community of over 700 volunteers working to advance carbon removal policy and R&D.

Jonathan Balkind (he/him) is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he co-directs the ArchLab. His research interests lie at the intersection of Computer Architecture, Programming Languages, and Operating Systems. Jonathan received his PhD and MA from Princeton University and his MSci from the University of Glasgow. He is the Lead Architect of OpenPiton and its heterogeneous-ISA descendant, BYOC, which are productive, open-source hardware research platforms with thousands of downloads from over 70 countries worldwide. Jonathan was a Class of 2018 Siebel Scholar and recipient of the Gordon Y.S. Wu Fellowship in Engineering. Since 2021, he has served as a Director of the FOSSi Foundation.

Kevin Eliceiri, Ph.D., is the RRF Walter H. Helmerich Professor of Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. He is an investigator in the Morgridge Institute for Research and member of the UW Carbone Cancer Center. He is also associate director of the McPherson Eye Research Institute and director of the Center for Quantitative Cell Imaging. His laboratory (known as the Laboratory for Optical and Computational Instrumentation (LOCI)) is a biophotonics research group dedicated to the development and application of optical and computational technologies for cell studies. They are contributing lead developers to  several open-source imaging software packages including FIJI, ImageJ2 and μManager. His open hardware instrumentation efforts involve novel forms of polarization, laser scanning and multiscale imaging. Eliceiri has authored more than 260 scientific papers on various aspects of optical imaging, image analysis, cancer and live cell imaging.

Manu Prakash (he/him) is a professor at Stanford University. He is a physical biologist applying his expertise in soft-matter physics to illuminate often easy to observe but hard to explain phenomena in biological and physical contexts and to invent solutions to difficult problems in global health, science education, and ecological surveillance. His many lines of research are driven by curiosity about the diversity of life forms on our planet and how they work, empathy for problems in resource-poor settings, and a deep interest in democratizing the experience and joy of science globally.

Miriam Langer (she/her)  is a professor of media arts/cultural technology at New Mexico Highlands University, an Hispanic Serving public institution in northeastern New Mexico. Miriam has been a professor of multimedia & interactivity with a focus on cultural technology at NMHU since 2001. In 2005, she initiated a partnership with the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs and has since worked with cultural institutions (museums, historic sites, national parks and libraries) around New Mexico (and elsewhere) to use emerging technology and open source solutions for these organizations. Since 2005, 268 projects have been completed at 62 cultural institutions. She is one of the founders of the Museduino, along with Rianne Trujillo, Miles Tokunow, and Stan Cohen – an open hardware platform for responsive exhibits and installation art. Her partners for this fellowship are Rianne Trujillo, instructor of software design and co-developer of the Museduino and Becca Sharp, an MFA student in Cultural Technology.
Museduino.org, cctnewmexico.org

Shanel Wu (they/them) is a PhD candidate at the University of Colorado Boulder researching smart textiles, wearable electronics, and sustainable futures for these technologies. They are a member of Laura Devendorf’s Unstable Design Lab in the ATLAS Institute at CU Boulder, contributing to the lab’s open-source weaving design software, AdaCAD, and open textbook for prototyping smart textiles. Devendorf is Wu’s PhD advisor, and will also be a partner on the fellowship, representing the lab’s introduction to open hardware. Wu received their Bachelor of Science in Physics from Harvey Mudd College, with a focus on applications to computing technologies. Of note, they also became a self-taught fiber artist during their undergraduate years, which informs their current research focus on textile-based circuitry and fabrication. Whether their hands are working with yarn, solder, fabric, or silicon, Wu embraces an open-source philosophy as a way to meld STEAM and community-driven social justice. 

Zsuzsa Márka (she/her) is a scientist at the Columbia Astrophysics Laboratory. She works on the LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory) project, the experiment that in 2016 announced the first direct detection of gravitational-waves. At Columbia University, Márka led the project that built the LIGO and KAGRA timing distribution systems, key subsystems for instrument control and gravitational wave data acquisition. Márka works with members of the Columbia Experimental Gravity group on various aspects of gravitational-wave multimessenger astrophysics with a special focus on joint high-energy neutrino and gravitational wave searches. She is also involved in the development of new technologies through the Columbia BioOptics Group with a focus on combating disease transmitting vectors via optical and acoustic technologies and a murine model of neurodegenerative diseases.