GIANT Spotlight: Meet Jess!


Name: Jessica (Jess) Mezei, PhD

Title: Co-Founder

Tell us a bit about yourself… Hi I’m Jess! Co-founder at the Giant Room.

I joined The GIANT Room to celebrate the dreamers and help children’s imagination flourish.

I completed my PhD in Science Education at Teachers College, Columbia University. One of my favorite memories at graduate school was a games for health grant we applied for and were awarded that enabled us to design, build, and study a mobile game for smoking cessation.  I loved it because it was a real-world problem that we got to apply our academic knowledge to and actually make a game!

I have a passion for play and believe that creativity takes courage and mistakes are portals to discovery! I’m a former science teacher and informal educator, from camps to classrooms, I always bring curiosity and care to set the stage for learning. I have also worked for technology startups helping bring more organization to researchers and writers lives and helping people connect to work opportunities. The intersection of science, design, and technology have always fascinated me and that’s where I want to spend time working and solving problems!

I believe GIANTs are within us all. I hope you’ll join us, go to our website to stay up to date.

Describe what you were like as a kid…
As a kid, I was curious, sporty, and crafty.  My mom might also tell you I was very kind, yet impatient and a bit rambunctious. I have memories of coming home from school with paint all over my dress or new scrapes on my knees or elbows. I loved to climb things (which landed me in gymnastics classes), and I was always active playing foot hockey or some sport at recess (that graduated into serious volleyball and softball competitive teams.) I would make up games with my siblings, made new crafts at every birthday party, and took school projects very seriously (my life-sized portrait of an Aztec warrior and my science projects were memorable).

My favorite thing to do in New York is…
to try new things! There is always something happening; try a new running route, do a new kind of workout class, eat at a new restaurant, see a show or visit a new art exhibit. The city is such a playground of things to get involved in and I love seeking out new experiences. But if I had to choose a favorite it would be to go for a run. It calms me and brings joy and balance to my life!

The funniest thing I’ve seen a kid do at the GIANT Room is...The funniest and most endearing thing I have seen is a little boy saying goodbye to his project (cardboard and electronic mobile with googley eyes) by hugging it, getting down to the floor level, looking directly at it to talking to it to say farewell, and then finding a place for it to live in our exhibition.

What are you looking forward to… I am looking forward to the GIANT programs this fall and seeing what new things are built! I am also personally excited to be welcoming a new baby into the world this November. A new family member and mini GIANT!

If you could learn anything what would it be? I would like to learn all the languages in the world so I could seamlessly communicate with everyone!