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The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

Makerspace professor invests in student creatives

Adjunct professor Missy Anapolsky smiles as City College student Ousema Zayati demonstrates his customized computer case design at Makerspace, City College Campus on Thursday, Dec 12, 2019. (Photo by Niko| Staff Photographer| Panagopoulos| [email protected])

by Tianna Frazier| Guest Writer

On a campus densely populated with creative minds and innovative thinkers, there is no shortage of clubs, programs and facilities for students to express themselves and bring their work to life at Sacramento City College. 

Missy Anapolsky, an adjunct design and digital media professor at City College, is an advocate for those looking to turn their ideas into reality. She is one of the many faces of Makerspace, a place for students and faculty members to create, design and build whatever their hearts desire. 

“It’s fabulous,” Anapolsky says of the Makerspace. “It’s such a resource that people don’t know about.”

In 2016, Sacramento City College was granted the opportunity to make an interdisciplinary facility where students and faculty members can take workshops, design, build and collaborate with each other. With the help of Anapolsky and many other faculty members from various disciplines such as life science, physics and chemistry, the Makerspace has been a hub for the inventors and artists of City College since January 2017.

“She’s been a part of it since the very beginning,” says Tom Cappelletti, another digital media and design professor and close friend to Anapolsky. She describes him as “the impetus of what is going on here.”

“I’ve known her about 10 or 15 years,” Cappelletti says as Anapolsky gives him a side hug. “She’s essential here.”

Anapolsky attended the University of Nebraska, where she earned an art degree, but never pursued a career that required her to utilize it. In 1995, after returning to college, she earned a degree in graphic design from Sacramento State. Just a few weeks after getting her bachelor’s degree, she established her own design firm, Circle Design, which is now 24 years old. 

“I use a lot of freelancers, and I have a core group of people that I’ve worked with for years,” Anapolsky says of her company. 

Circle Design, which has done projects with the Sacramento Convention Center, specializes in environmental design, website development and brand identity. 

After Anapolsky taught design courses at Sacramento State for a few years, a friend who worked at City College suggested that she teach here, where she would have the opportunity to teach more theory-based courses rather than software-based courses. 

Adjunct professor Missy Anapolsky observes as City College student Christian Espanoza inputs configuration information for a new router bit into the program which runs the CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machine at Makerspace, City College Campus on Thursday, Dec 12, 2019. (Photo by Niko Panagopoulos| Staff Photographer| [email protected])

“Classes were all about learning software,” Anapolsky recalls of her experience before coming to City College. “They learn a software program and call themselves designers. That’s really still an issue to this day I see all the time. That’s why you see so much shitty design.” 

She is passionate about teaching her students the “why” rather than the “how to” because she believes having an understanding of what designers do and why they’re doing it is an essential component of being a good designer. 

A normal day in the Makerspace is busy. And not just busy busy; it’s borderline chaotic. From an outside perspective, the chaos seems distracting, but students are in their elements, diligently working on their projects. There are machines whirring, electronics beeping, people chatting, and printers printing.

Anapolsky sits in the Makerspace, reflecting on her first days in it and about how happy she was to see something she had wished for her students come to life.  

“You gotta imagine, ya know, that this was an idea and then to have it come to fruition.” She looks around the room at all her students and coworkers. “I think I was just in awe.” She remembers that the Makerspace has been an interesting experience for her because her old classroom used to look very different, but she “can’t imagine it any other way.”

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Anapolsky beams with pride when she talks about her friends and students she works within the Makerspace.

“The best thing to see is the creativity light up everywhere,” she says, looking around at the handfuls of students working together on various projects. “And to see how people come in and get excited. But the main thing to me is to watch the collaboration that happens between people.”  

She points around the room to explain some of the different student projects. A small catapult made of wood sits on one shelf. In one corner is a computer hand-built by a couple of students, and all around the room are posters that read, “Imagine. Design. Create.” 

Two of the main components of the Makerspace are the Flex Space and the Shop. In the Flex Space, there are several machines such as large and small printers used for poster and sticker making, eight 3D printers, and a fabric press. In the Shop, there are several saws, power tools, and hand tools, which many students use to build furniture. The Makerspace also has a recording studio in which some students record podcasts, along with a textile room which Anapolsky considers one of her favorite components of facility. She particularly enjoys the textile and crafting workshops held by Judy Coates Perez, an instructional assistant at City College, who Anapolsky says is “just fabulous.”

Even though Anapolsky enjoys spending much of her free-time in the Makerspace, she isn’t always there crafting or helping students with their projects. She loves to hang out with her mom who she is very close with, she likes to read and she regularly takes her dog, Buddy, on walks around the neighborhood. But Anapolsky has diverse interests as well. “I’m a maker,” she says. “I like to make jewelry.” 

With the help of her partner, Tim, she converted one of the bedrooms in her house to a study dedicated to her work. “I like to do assemblage through dimensional collage.” She smiles adding, “I find things and I can’t throw them away. I’m one of those people because I think I’m gonna use it for something. I have a lot of stuff to play with.” 

Anapolsky spends a lot of time in the Makerspace, always making sure to catch up with her students and colleagues, asking them about their days and their projects.

One of her students raves about what an impactful mentor Anapolsky is. 

“Missy was my first graphic design professor here,” says Sam Liff, who is now majoring in graphic design. “I came in trying to take a class to learn how to make logos, and that was not the class that I got with Missy. I was at first severely disappointed, but by the end of the semester I knew I had taken an invaluable class that served me greatly.” 

Liff speaks highly of Anapolsky’s talent as a professor. “I had taken a few classes here and there, testing the waters, figuring out what I wanted to do out of high school. After Missy’s class I was hooked.” 

Another student, Tristan Lofting, also a graphic design major, described Anapolsky as “warm” and “nurturing.” 

Pamela Posz, a City College librarian, is a friend and colleague of Anapolsky’s who dedicates one day every week to help run the Makerspace. 

“Missy just knows a huge amount and has a lot of excellent experience with graphic design,” says Posz as Anapolsky smiled and listened. “She’s a guru with graphic design. And she’s a lovely person to work with, so it’s an excellent combination.”

Anapolsky admits that she is incredibly passionate about design and hopes to help inspire others to be as well. As part of her dedication, she hopes to expand the Makerspace in the future to accommodate all the people who want to utilize the facility. But for now, the Makerspace is open to students, faculty or staff who want to explore their creativity. 

Anapolsky expresses her appreciation for the Makerspace and its users by adding how she is “happy to see people embracing this.” As an adjunct professor, she is grateful to be able to spend more time collaborating with her students outside of the classroom. 

She looks around the room at all of her colleagues and students, “I have a great life,” she says smiling. 

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