Jordan Reeves is hard not to notice. Maybe it’s because you don’t meet many 12-year-old kids who have given TED talks. Maybe it’s because of her limb difference, with her left arm ending just above the elbow. Or maybe it’s because of the purple, unicorn-horn prosthetic she built for herself that shoots glitter like a cannon. There are many ways that Jordan is just like other kids her age, but she wouldn’t want you to try to ignore the differences. She knows that differences, whatever they may be, are worth celebrating.
1. Whether its freckles, an accent, or a different body type, lots of kids feel the urge to hide their differences. What makes you so passionate about celebrating them?
I’m passionate about celebrating differences because when people see me, I’m obviously different. I know I can help people feel more comfortable about being around disability. I also really like talking about how disability is a great combination with design.
2. What is something about using prosthetics that other people might not know?
Prosthetics help with health, but they aren’t something you use to hide a difference. I use them to keep my body healthy, and they often have different colors and styles because I am not hiding. It’s also important to let people know that even if I was wearing the most expensive, high-tech arm, it isn’t something I would wear ALL the time. I can do a lot of things without one. Prosthetic legs are sometimes easier to hide, but they help a person walk. And getting around is really helpful.
3. I have to ask: What made you decide to build an arm-mounted, glitter-shooting, unicorn horn?
Because I like glitter! I wanted to shoot it because, why not! When I had a chance to learn about design, I was challenged to build something that added to my limb difference. So, I thought it would be fun to shoot glitter out of my arm.
4. You had a chance to work with an online design partner as part of a workshop, but you didn’t get to meet him until much later. What was it like working with someone you had never met before?
It was cool. We used Google Hangouts so it was like we were in the room together. When I finally met Sam in person, it was like it wasn’t the first time we were meeting.
5. What is one area of STEM that you feel like you are good at, one that you have to work hard to understand, and one that you are excited to learn more about?
My friends and I call it STEAM, because I really think the A is my biggest focus. Arts help me combine engineering, technology, math, and science in a fun way. But science is my favorite. I work hard to understand math, but I know it’s really helpful. I am really excited to keep learning more about technology and engineering!
6. Lots of people get nervous when they have to speak in front an audience. What do you do to prepare and how do you keep from getting nervous?
Oh, I totally get nervous. I am just really good at hiding my nervousness. I usually practice a lot with my mom. The more I practice, the less nervous I get.
7. What kind of design are you working on now and why are you excited about it?
I’m working on a voice-controlled, go-go-gadget prosthetic arm that can work like a Swiss Army Knife to deliver different tools I use when I’m making stuff, like a scraper to get items off my 3D printer, pens, and scissors.
Jordan Reeves Fun Facts