Meet the Staff

Current Staff Members

Amanda ElzbieciakAmanda Elzbieciak (January 2017 – Present)
‘Hello Everyone! My name is Amanda Elzbieciak and I am a recent graduate student from UIUC’s School of Information Science focusing on emerging technologies. I am currently the workshop manager for the Illini Gadget Garage, coordinating pop-ups, appointments, and working with volunteers. I’m originally from Northwest Indiana and did my undergraduate coursework at an extension of Purdue University where I earned degrees in English Composition and Liberal Studies, and during that time I worked in my local public library. I greatly enjoyed being able to assist individuals with learning how to navigate and use digital technology, so it was a natural segue for me to end up in library school taking courses relating to information technology. During a course introducing myself and my classmates to networking systems, we were encouraged to volunteer and work collaboratively with a community entity, and that was when I first became involved with the Gadget Garage. During my time volunteering at the Gadget Garage, I was really impressed with the supportive environment that is created in working to collaboratively repair old and broken items in order to not only prolong the life of the item, but to empower individuals in understanding that fixing technology doesn’t have to be something only for professionals. I was a complete beginner when it came to dissecting technology; my only experience in taking things apart previously was what I had done during my volunteer work with the Garage, but let me tell you, it is very satisfying being able to take something apart, put it back together, and have it work again. You feel like a rock star, and before you know it, you’re trying to take other things apart and fix them as well. Tinkering is contagious, and I feel that the more you’re aware of how technology works, the less you have to be intimidated by it and that opens the door to a world of possibilities of what you are able to do with it. I’m really excited to be a part of the Gadget Garage and I can’t wait to see what we can do together against the tech troubles that life throws at us.’

Former Staff Members

Yab DemisieYabetsega Demisie (2018 UI Summer Youth Employment Program Participant) ‘Hello! My name is Yabetsega Demisie and I am a part time worker at the Illini Gadget Garage. I’m currently a junior at Urbana High School and hoping to continue my education at the University of Illinois. I came to the Illini Gadget Garage through the University’s Summer Youth Employment Program. I hope to learn much more about improving sustainability in my own life and on a much a larger scale.’

Davon MinorDavon Minor (2018 UI Summer Youth Employment Program Participant)  ‘My name is Davon Minor, born and raised in Champaign Illinois. I grew up with an interest in how technology works and that has stayed with me up to this point. I like to learn new things and I enjoy seeing the process of how things are created. That’s what makes technology so intriguing to me. I am a student that is in the midst of learning more about technology now. Working in the Illini Gadget Garage gives me an opportunity to see this and help people with their learning as well as my own. I will try my best to help those who need assistance with any knowledge I have on what projects or gadgets that they are trying to repair.’

Madeleine Wolske

Madeleine Wolske (IGG workshop manager, December 2015 – January 2018)
‘Hello! I am Madeleine Wolske and I was the IGG workshop manager until the beginning of 2018. I worked here as the Graduate Research Assistant while completing my Masters of Library Information Science, and continued past graduation to help with onboarding and maintenance. I am passionate about living sustainably and assisting in liberating individuals to think outside our consumer-driven culture. My favorite aspect about working at the IGG was collaborating with a patron who has no experience troubleshooting their personal devices. Being there to witness them realize that they have the ability to troubleshoot, diagnose, and fix the device they’re working on is amazing–especially when that realization of empowerment translates to other devices in their lives.’

Spring 2017: Jarrett Zook – Graduate Research Assistant

Fall 2015: Brad Irwin-Graduate Research Assistant