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Empowering Futures: Kristie Larson’s Impact at The DeBruce Foundation & Make48

Make48’s partnership with The DeBruce Foundation is working to empower the next generation of innovators around the country. The collaboration has fostered a unique learning environment at Make48’s competition, where participants not only develop practical skills like problem-solving and teamwork, but also gain valuable insights into potential career paths related to their interests and talents.

A Make48 panel. 1 woman with microphone smiling with another woman next to her smiling.
Kristie Larson on Fireside Panel in Wilson, AR

Kristie Larson, Strategic Relationship Manager at The DeBruce Foundation, has played a pivotal role in merging the DeBruce mission with Make48’s competitions.

By engaging students, educators, and industry professionals in Make48’s invention process using DeBruce’s Agilities©, this partnership has ignited innovation, encouraged entrepreneurship, and strengthened the Maker community.

Kristie is passionate about connecting people with The DeBruce Foundation's tools and resources with both internal and external partners. Raised in rural Northwest Missouri and educated at the University of Missouri-Columbia (College of Agriculture), her career spans nonprofits, commodity groups, sales, and state government. This diverse background has shaped her commitment to fostering collaboration and telling the story of agriculture, education and community.

Since joining The DeBruce Foundation in September 2021, Kristie has thrived.

5 individual posing and smiling in front of a make48 and e-z-go banner
Make48 co-owners with judging panel. (l to r) Tom Gray, Joel Gordon, Lyla Valentin, Kristie Larson, and Amy Gray at The Delta School in Wilson, Arkansas event.

Her first Make48 event in Indiana, just three weeks into her new role, left a lasting impression. “I sat with Leigh Anne Taylor Knight on the fireside chat panel when I was three weeks into my job. It was so different and fun,” she recalls. This experience deepened her appreciation for the partnership.

Kristie's family, including her husband and two daughters, actively supports her involvement in Make48. Her daughters have attended several events, witnessing firsthand the creativity and problem-solving skills of the young participants. The experience has been educational for her daughters, exposing them to the power of teamwork, innovation, and the magic of makerspaces. “My kids have learned a lot. Now when I go to a Make48 event, they know exactly what's going on, and they're excited for me.”

Woman in front of presentation on Agilities
Kristie Larson at her first M48 event in Indianapolis 2021

The Meaning of Agilities© | The DeBruce Foundation

For Kristie, Agilities represent the intersection of one's passions and strengths. “When you can work or live in that great intersection of what you like to do and what you're good at, that not only gives you confidence and hope, but it gives you some great work language and perspective on how to be your best self.” This concept extends to teams, where diverse Agilities create a powerful synergy, enabling individuals to leverage their unique talents for collective success. 

Judging the Agilities Award at Make48 has been a wonderful experience for Kristie. She has observed how quickly Make48 competitors grasp and embrace their Agilities, utilizing them effectively within their teams. “It's been fun to see how quickly they get and understand the Agilities and put them into action.” 

Kristie Larson with 4 person team with trophy for the best Agilities
Kristie with Team Agricadabra, winners of Best Agilities at the FFA-inspired challenge in Fishers, Indiana

Kristie also observes how many of the students learn and grow in skills they didn't think they were so strong in. “Everybody grows that way. I also want to note how the team captains and mentors enhance the teams' ability to leverage their Agilities”, helping participants grow in areas they initially thought were weaknesses.

Having participated in four Make48 events so far this year, Kristie is eager to attend the remaining two and experience the full spectrum of team dynamics and creative solutions. These events offer a unique opportunity to witness young minds tackling sponsored challenges, collaborating with, and embracing their creative potential.

We are grateful to have Kristie Larson's invaluable contributions at Make48, showcasing the powerful impact of a partnership empowering the next generation of innovators. Learn more about The DeBruce Foundation and their career literacy resources at


About The DeBruce Foundation: The DeBruce Foundation is a national foundation whose mission is to expand pathways to economic growth and opportunity. The Foundation is committed to helping individuals unlock their potential and find career pathways. By developing solutions such as the Agile Work Profiler, we change how people pursue careers. By partnering strategically, we increase experiences and exposure to widen career opportunities, starting with youth and working across the lifespan. Learn more at

About Make48: Make48 is a nationwide invention-competition docuseries that gives teams a challenge at the start of a two-day event. With just 48 hours, teams must create a prototype, promotional video, and sales sheet, and present their idea to a panel of judges. The teams have access to a makerspace and numerous Tool Techs that can make almost anything, patent attorneys, marketing experts, and more. This format allows everyone to have a level playing field and the chance to win, with no prior technical knowledge necessary. Make48 Facebook Instagram LinkedIn Twitter YouTube 

Make48 Media Contact:

Cassandra Muñoz

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