Technology Activist, filmmaker, and writer.
Who is Robin Maxkii?
The Houston Public Library is underused by most children, but treasured by others. One of those children was eleven-year-old Robin Maxkii who had only just moved to Houston after moving from the Stockbridge-Munsee reservation. She loved the books and the children’s center, but even more so? She loved computers. Only there was a problem. There was a thirty minute browsing cap. “I just decided I was going to click everywhere in order to get around this because I wanted to use the computer,” she recalls. “There had to be a way; it was just ridiculous.” Eventually she clicked on the Settings and disabled the time limit setting. She had hacked the computers and opened a whole new door to opportunities. It was this small beginning that would eventually lead to something much bigger.
Years later, Maxkii saw the CEO of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society, and found it was her chance to share a world of opportunities to everyone else. It was an opportunity for her to make one of her dreams come to life: a hackathon specifically for Native students at all levels interested in STEM. Maxkii took charge and shared her big idea, and her bravery paid off!
Facilitated by Maxkii in 2016, hackAISES was the first American Indian hackathon, drawing in participants from high school students to PhD graduates. It was so successful that it became an ongoing event. Now Maxkii is looking at graduate school applicants as a candidate for change and support. She says that she is remaining conscious of the work she’s doing and how it is amplifying her community. Particularly, Maxkii wants to empower people to know “they’re part of a larger picture” and make them “realize that they’re not just smart but completely capable” of contributing to science.
3 Things We Love About Robin Maxkii:
- Maxkii was on her blog Native Notes, where had been writing about native issues for years, when she received an anonymous comment. “If you want to make a change,” it said. “You should go to college.” So she did!
- She was born and raised on the Flathead Indian Reservation in Montana.
- She was asked to introduce Jill Biden at a national conference in 2015.