KNOXVILLE—Responding to President Barack Obama’s call to empower America’s students and entrepreneurs to invent the future, the College of Engineering at the University of Tennessee is Knoxville is participating in today’s National Day of Making, held in conjunction with the first White House Maker Faire.
Referred to as the “maker movement,” there has been a surge of innovation in recent years as laser tools, 3-D printers, and software previously unavailable outside of laboratory settings have found their way into the hands of average citizens, who are leading the next wave of breakthroughs.
Geared toward inspiring what the White House calls a “renaissance in American manufacturing,” the fair is designed to highlight those Americans who have found new ways to embrace changing technology and techniques shaping modern economies, workforces, and education, with the Day of Making serving to kick off the effort.
“We are committed to introducing the maker spirit to K-12 students as well as undergraduate and graduate students of the university,” said Wayne Davis, dean of the College of Engineering.
In particular, UT’s involvement in developing week-long STEM—science, technology, engineering, and math—programs for middle and high school students to take over the summer was highlighted, as was the recent growth, refurbishment, or replacement of many STEM-related lab and classroom spaces across campus.
One such investment is the forthcoming Engineering Innovation Lab and Senior Design Space.
While preliminary plans have been drawn, fundraising has just begun for the facility, which will be a focal point for outreach programs, engagement of potential STEM students, and activities for undergraduate students.
The area of the proposed facility devoted to designing and planning has a larger goal of making the departments within the College of Engineering more cohesive, bringing about a sharing of ideas and innovations, and will allow cross-disciplinary access to shops ranging from welding to woodwork.
It is hoped that this coming together of ideas will spur upperclass students in the maker movement, helping them make their concepts reality.
In addition to meeting students, businesspeople and everyday citizens who have led the charge in reshaping the STEM landscape, President Obama also challenged communities and innovators to talk about their ideas and successes online by using the Twitter hashtag #NationofMakers or by posting pictures of innovations on social media sites.
For more on the White House Maker Faire, visit http://makerfaire.com.