Margaret Teichert stands proudly by her bookcase she welded. "Don't let things languish on your bucket list," she said.

After surviving breast cancer, nothing is stopping Margaret Teichert.

“What else can I do?”

That was the thought Margaret Teichert had after leaving Hacker Lab one day, with a carved wooden scoop she had turned herself on the lathe while taking a one-on-one class.

The senior product manager had taken most of 2019 off. A few months into 2020, after getting her health back, she was enjoying spending time with her kids and was ready for her next step.

“I was all fired up for 2020 be the great come back year, and of course it wasn’t.. for anybody,” Teichert said.

What she didn’t know was how the pandemic would inspire her.

“If there’s an upside to all of this pandemic nonsense, the context of the year before gave me a positive sense that if we have a bucket list — this is the time.”
At the age of 47, 25 years to the day what would have been her graduation from Mills College, she completed her degree.

She decided she wanted more. She enrolled in Sacramento City College in December of 2020 and found out about the maker space, and how anyone can get low-cost Hacker Lab access by taking maker classes.

“I’ve always been an artist, a crafter and a tinkerer—but Hacker Lab is so uniquely at the cross-section of so many things I want to do,” she said. “It’s kind of the way people think about libraries, when you’re not in school and your’e not in school you ignore them for what they are - it’s the same way about colleges and this place.

”After taking a semester of the remote maker class at the college, she signed up immediately for Woodshop 1 and 2 one-on-one classes, “where I saw the lathe and said, I have to learn how to do that.”

She made the scoop.

“When I came out of the lathe class with an actual scoop, I thought, well what else could could I do?,” she said. “I was amazed that after first class I actually made a thing and learned how to use a bunch of tools.”

She jumped into Metalworking 1 for her next class. Afterwards a welded-metal bookcase caught her eye, one of many projects on her Pinterest boards. The bookcase is tall with a several platform shelves running along a single post.

“Teri is of course, marvelous, and I thought you know, this wouldn’t be many welds and asked Teri, can you help me make it?”

She found her experience and knowledge in making leveled-up and learned things in a certain order to work her way up to welding.

“Hacker lab has meant so much to me this year. Life isn’t always rainbows and sunshine, but you’ve got something inside you to do, so do it,” she said. “I feel a lot of deep gratitude in that it’s available as a resource.”

She’s already got her next class lined up: Jewelry, May 4.

She’s made jewelry before but not with Lab-kind of equipment.

In the meantime, she’s going to scour her Pinterest pages to see what else she can make.

“So many people are living a different experience than they thought they would be — the advantage of getting your life shaken up like a snow globe is you get to choose your own adventure.”

“You could go back to normal… but there is such an opportunity to make reality out of the things you really want."

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