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Digital Jukebox, Karaoke Picks, and Christmas in Calgary

Don Undeen, Maker Hub Manager with Jack DeGioia, Georgetown University

Spend a little time getting to know recent 2018 President’s Excellence Awardee Don Undeen, Maker Hub Manager!

1. Name, job title and location
Don Undeen, Maker Hub Manager, Maker Hub

2. What do you do – in 10 words?
I help facilitate, grow, and support a community of Georgetown makers.

3. Where are you from?
I am originally from Gainesville, FL but most recently I lived in Brooklyn, NY for 14 years. Gainesville is a college town so there were lots of things to do like a great music scene. I was in a band there for a while. But it was nice because it is also a rural enough area to stomp around in the creeks and have fun outdoors.

4. You have been a maker long before you came to Georgetown. What project are you most proud of?
When I was seven there was a rabbit in the yard next to our house and I wanted to catch it. My dad and I found a design for a trap, the classic box with the lid propped up with a stick that will close when the animal disrupts the stick. I put honey and peanut butter in the back to attract the rabbit. Everyone told me it wouldn’t work but I caught it! We, of course, let it go but it was the first time I made something that worked and it really started my lifelong passion for making.

The other project I really love that is more recent is the digital jukebox. I found this old tabletop jukebox in the garbage in Brooklyn. I took it home, cleaned it, and I downloaded the manual and figured out how to get it all working. I met a guy through the internet who helped me design a circuit that would enable someone wanting to listen to music to trigger Spotify playlists. We use this jukebox every day in the Maker Hub, each volunteer and staff member in the Maker Hub Community creates their own Spotify station that they can play!

5. What is your favorite holiday tradition in your family?
I love going to Calgary for Christmas to see my in-laws. My father-in-law and I listen to records together and relax together. We will go to the huge candy store in Banff and also hit up the hot springs. It's usually 30 below by the time Christmas hits so you need the warmth!

6. What are you reading (or watching or playing or listening to) right now?
I’m currently listening to a bunch of podcasts. There is one I really like called the Mystery Show. There is this woman who solves everyday mysteries. For example, in one episode a person has a Welcome Back Kotter lunch box with a scene depicted on it that never actually happened in the show. She then investigates, getting into the backstory and she learns about the artist and so much more until she finds where this scene came from. I also really enjoy You Must Remember This, a podcast that explores the lost history of classic Hollywood.

Music-wise, I went to the 2017 Hispanic Heritage Awards this year and this Grammy award-winning Spanish artist Buika performed. Every time I hear her music since that performance I just have chills.

7. What advice would you give to students as they are getting ready for finals on the Hilltop?
Find productive ways to de-stress. Join us in the Maker Hub during finals! We will have a bunch of activities where you can let go and be creative and get out of your head for a little while. We will have a de-making session, a snowflake making workshop and much more. Stay tuned to the next newsletter for more details about those!

8. You are known around the Library for being adept with puns and jokes, what is your favorite joke that always lands?
That’s actually hard, I feel like they are always so situational and I always have such a hard time coming up with a joke when someone asks me to tell them one. There is actually a competitive punning scene around DC but I never join in because I just know I would choke!

9. As a kid were you an in-the-lines color-er or a wild color-er? Were you a colored pencil, crayon, or marker aficionado?
Sadly, I was just an incompetent colorer. I really wanted to color inside the lines and make it look nice but I just couldn’t do it. By the time I was done I had like eaten half the crayon, pieces of crayon were everywhere. I was a truly disgraceful color-er.