What Drives Makerspaces On Campus

Education Maker News Makerspace
What Drives Makerspaces On Campus

A Discussion With Makerspace Managers At Colleges + Universities

Makerspaces are becoming a valuable feature of university and college campuses, providing students access to tools, expertise, and space for projects. They have become stops on tours for prospective students. Some were started by students while others were organized by departments. Now there are larger interdisciplinary spaces, which are alumni-funded and designed to foster innovation. Some are even open to the larger community. Increasingly, a campus will have a network of different kinds of makerspaces. In creating our Best Maker School List with Newsweek, we took into account the function and accessibility of makerspaces at a wide variety of universities and colleges, looking at how they developed, the processes they’ve created, and who they serve.


Join us on Wednesday, September 22nd @ 4pm PDT / 7pm EDT as we talk to people who are working in these campus makerspaces and learn about how they are used and viewed by students, faculty, administration, and alumni.

REGISTER to join the conversation on Zoom or WATCH on Facebook.

Several questions will frame the conversation:

  1. How did makerspaces first get started on campus and what is happening now?
  2. How are students taking advantage of makerspaces and what do you do to gain awareness among students who might not have used a makerspace before?

  3. Does your campus have a large central makerspace or many different makerspace or both and how are they connected?

  4. How does the makerspace tie to efforts to increase student-driven innovation and creation?


Micah Lande, Ph.D., an Assistant Professor and E.R. Stensaas Chair for Engineering Education in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology. Dr. Lande directs the Holistic Engineering Lab & Observatory. He teaches human-centered engineering design, design thinking, and design innovation courses. Dr. Lande researches how technical and non-technical people learn and apply design thinking and making processes to their work. He is interested in the intersection of designerly epistemic identities and vocational pathways. Dr. Lande received his B.S. in Engineering (Product Design), M.A. in Education (Learning, Design, and Technology), and Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering (Design Education) from Stanford University.

Amy Kavalewitz is the Executive Director, Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen at Rice University in Houston, TX. She has been with the OEDK since the summer after it opened its doors in spring 2009. Amy stewards the support for student engineering design projects and programs by building relationships with industrial partners and managing the day-to-day operations of the OEDK facility and staff. Amy leads the development of crafting OEDK policies and procedures and substantially contributes to “the creative buzz that characterizes the OEDK.” Amy has a deep competence for website development, social media, and the identification of new tools to expedite our organizational operations.

Mischa Villanueva is the Fabrication Floor Manager at Sears think[box] Case Western Reserve University and a a certified Harley technician that built custom motorcycles professionally and began creating large scale metal art pieces as well as architectural and motorcycle fabrication. After working in the industry as a fabricator/draftsman for 10 years he was offered a teaching position in New York City teaching TIG welding. Currently he’s studying Industrial Design at The Cleveland Institute of Art, where my focus is Product Design and Processes with an emphasis on life cycle and sustainability.

Zack Dowell is the Instructional Design and Development Coordinator at Folsom Lake College, a part of the Los Rios Community College District. A lifelong tinkerer and maker, Zach join FLC in 2001 and coordinates the efforts of the college’s Innovation Center, a discipline-agnostic, general education makerspace. The Innovation Center partners with students, college faculty, community organizations, and K-12 educators to help catalyze the regional maker ecosystem. Through the Making Across the Curriculum efforts, educators from a variety of disciplines have integrated the ethos, tools, and techniques of making into their practice, leading to the development of unique curriculum, class activities, and interdisciplinary projects. Details at flcinnovation.org.

Sabrina Shankar is the Assistant Director of Campus Activities at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. Sabrina has spent the last 8 years working in a variety of digital, fabrication, and makerspace labs leading to her current role supervising a fine art studio and makerspace at Bucknell University. Her passion for integrating fine art mediums with modern technology has developed unique programs and new opportunities for ways in which participants can connect with the makerspace. In her free time, Sabrina consults for makerspaces across the country to aid in the development and growth of their facility. 

Ann Wan, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mathematics at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg. She teaches mathematics courses for future teachers and founded and directs the Eagle Maker Hub — a university Makerspace. Eagle Maker Hub grew out of her passion for research in the integration of Making in content area classrooms — specifically mathematics. Currently, Eagle Maker Hub serves students at the University of Southern Mississippi and the community as well. She was recently named a “Top in Tech” leader by the Mississippi Business Journal for her contributions to the field of technology in the state. She is also a co-producer of Maker Faire Hattiesburg.

Eric Thompson is the Co-Director of the Blackstone LaunchPad and manager of the Innovation Center at Spelman College in Atlanta, GA. He holds an MS in Human-Computer Interaction from the Georgia Institute of Technology. 

Rick Blanton is the Director of Technical Operations at the A. James Clark School of Engineering at the University of Maryland at College Park, which is currently building a Makerspace Initiative that is a consortium of 25+ campus makerspaces from different departments and units across campus, with the common goal of helping each other provide the best experience possible for students, faculty, and staf

Peter Romine, Ph.D. is Professor and Head of the Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering Program at Navajo Technical University in Crownpoint, NM where he also developed the Diné Maker Nation Maker Faire which celebrates making on campus and across the Navajo Nation.

Excited by maker education and looking for more resources? Participate in the virtual Make: Education Forum on September 24 & 25th which aims to transform education by focusing on the needs and interests of educators and their students by developing new technical skills and encouraging the process of creative problem-solving. Programming will include “how-to” sessions and workshops that introduce projects and methods that you can use to design or expand your maker program. In addition, it’s a unique opportunity to meet other maker educators as well as expert makers. Learn more and register at https://make.co/educationforum/.

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Jennifer Blakeslee keeps the Global Maker Faire program running smoothly and has been a maker at Maker Faire since 2011. Among other things, she really likes to travel, write, cook, hike, make big art, and swim in the ocean.

View more articles by Jennifer Blakeslee