The Tandon School of Engineering held a twofold celebration on Tuesday, marking the second anniversary of its MakerSpace while simultaneously launching a new design lab.
Speakers at the event at 6 MetroTech Center included new Tandon Dean Jelena Kovačević and trustee Chandrika Tandon. During her speech, Kovačević discussed what she felt were the MakerSpace’s biggest successes thus far — groundbreaking research, a strong focus on students, the positive culture of the lab and its potential to create solutions for societal problems.
“It is my personal commitment that we are here for you and Makerspace is yet another example of how we hear the students and act upon it,” Kovačević said. “Personally I want to come to work and be happy and smile and enjoy the people I’m working with. I can’t imagine a better place that promotes such culture than this one.”
MakerSpace manager and adjunct professor Victoria Bill said she thinks the MakerSpace has helped contribute to a collective change in mindset among Tandon students and faculty.
“Slowly, more and more faculty innovate the use of this space into their curriculum,” Bill said. “Every department at Tandon has at least a few courses that are applied to use this space. We trained almost all the engineering students here to use this space. They come with their group. They don’t have to be intimidated.”
Alongside two graduate students and associate professor Anne-Laure Fayard, Bill will assist in running the new design lab as well, which is not a unique physical space but is instead the name for a new series of workshops within the MakerSpace. The design lab will help teach students how to apply design thinking to their projects, use technologies like 3D printers and laser cutters and will also serve as a space for workshops with industry professionals and offer funding for students to develop their prototypes.
If the new design lab is anything like the MakerSpace, it will offer students a chance to supplement their learning inside the class with outside projects, according to MakerSpace assistant manager Sean Kennon.
“We’ve had more workshops on not just equipment in the space but software, design thinking, sketching, prototyping and other skills that might be hard to get inside of [a student’s] class depending on what their major is,” Kennon said. “They might not have all that stuff readily available, but they can come to Makerspace no matter what program they are in.”