Calista Frederick-Jaskiewicz's story is an inspiration to anyone who aspires to use origami as a teaching tool. At 15, Frederick-Jaskiewicz is the CEO of Origami Salami, an ambitious effort to get young people passionate about studying STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) by teaching them the basics of origami. In addition to maintaining a wonderful origami website and an Origami Salami Facebook page, she created a course called "Investigation: Paper Engineering" for K-12 curriculum publisher Lincoln Interactive.
Frederick-Jaskiewicz's example has already lead other young paper folders to create their own Origami Salami groups across the United States. In addition to providing general origami instruction, the groups are involved in various community service projects such as folding origami models for an auction to raise money for the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center.
Recently, Frederick-Jaskiewicz took the time to answer a few questions for the readers of About Origami.
When did you first become interested in origami?
When I was around 6 years old, I got an origami kit as a gift. I have been folding ever since!
What is you favorite type of model to fold?The Eastern Dragon by Jun Maekawa and the Teabag Reindeer, by Jun Maekawa and John Montroll.
What is you favorite origami book or website?
Two of my favorite origami books are Genuine Origami by Jun Maekawa and Animal Origami Adventure by John Montroll. I also go out on the web sometimes and get good ideas there.
What is you favorite type of material to fold?
Plain origami paper is probably the most common material I fold. I also fold tea bag wrappers, chopstick covers, repurposed papers from magazines, paper plates, gift wrap, and paper currency (mostly US). If it can bend or fold, I’ve probably tried it, but with mixed results.
What tips would you give to someone who is just learning how to fold origami models?
Always remember to crisply crease your fold lines. Save everything. Store papers carefully. Share what you know.
During a typical week, how much time do you devote to practicing origami?
I am a full-time student, so I probably wind up actively folding around 3-4 hours a week during my school year, and possibly more during down time.
In your opinion, what is the relationship between origami as an art form and the scientific mathematical implications of paper folding?
Origami is at the intersection of art and STEM. Through Origami Salami, I advocate for student’s STEM interest through the fun of origami modeling. Folding is everywhere.
For example, the study of folded leaf geometry has been shown to maximize the efficiency of a new design of solar panel. The DNA origami nano-robot kills cancerous cells while leaving healthy ones untouched. Graphite becomes the strongest material known when it is folded, becoming what is known as gra-folds. Air, leaves, light, and the human brain are folded, not to mention DNA, RNA, and the hundreds of thousands of proteins in the body are folded. In fact, online crowdsourcing games are unraveling the mysteries of folded proteins. Who would have thought that computer gamers would solve scientific mysteries, which eluded famous researchers around the world? Much of what we now know about protein folding has been discovered or verified by computer simulations.
Is there any other special information you'd like to share with the readers of About Origami?
Origami is undercover STEM. For more about how origami is connected to STEM studies, go to http://www.origamisalami.com. For over 250 independently researched news stories about the art and STEM of folding, see http://www.facebook.com/OrigamiSalami1. Or, e-mail me at email@example.com.