On a list that includes full-fledged young celebrities like the Kardashian clan’s Kylie Jenner and Kanye West protégé Desiigner, it seems unlikely for a second-year English literature student at the University of British Columbia (UBC) to even be in the conversation for such a list.
But scroll through the Forbes 30 Under 30 selections for 2017 and you’ll see the name Ann Makosinski in the youngest category, sandwiched between some of the most influential and innovative youth in North America today.
Well, unfortunately for all us book worms out there, it’s not her love of literature that has earned her a spot on the Forbes list as well as appearances on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and multiple TEDx talks.
No, at the tender age of 19, Makosinski has made a name for herself as the inventor of the Hollow Flashlight, which runs off the heat of the human hand, and the eDrink, a mug that converts heat from your drink into electric current to charge your phone.
These inventions began when Makosinski was only seven-years-old, looking to create her own entertainment with very limited toys and television time growing up. Since then, there’s been plenty of trial and error over the years.
“I’d take garbage and I’d glue them together and create inventions,” she told CBC News.
“Of course, they never worked, but the idea of taking the resources around me and piecing them together to make something better or to solve a problem was kind of there from the start.”
It seems like that approach has paid off for Makosinski as she continues her studies at UBC while simultaneously building her business, Makotronics Enterprises, in between working on essays and a mountain of readings. That seems to have not deterred her from staying to true to her passion.
“I think it is important to have a balance of science and arts to be able to be accessible in either fields,” she said. “It’s just that has interested me, but I still do all my science and business outside of school.”
Hailing from the creative Canadian hotbed that is Victoria, Makosinski is an inspiration for all Victorians pursuing their innovative aspirations. One such example is Picture This Today, a company making waves in the real estate and furnishing industries with a revolutionary software allowing consumers to walk inside virtual replicas of homes and change its interior features with product available for purchase through the system.
Giving homeowners the ability to truly visualize and customize their home in a detailed 3D environment is something Picture This Today wanted to accomplish in order to create a better way to buy and furnish properties and it’s become just that.
With creative leaders like Picture This Today and Makosinski both representing the same city, it’s hard to believe Victoria is one of the smaller business communities in Canada — but that doesn’t mean its inventive individuals are sparse by any means.