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Becoming a MakerBot Starter Lab, Part 2
March 17, 2015
As we mentioned on our blog fairly recently, two universities have signed up to become MakerBot Starter Lab locations. The two schools are based in NY state, SUNY Cobleskill in Cobleskill, NY, and Union College, in Schenectady, NY. We reached out to both campuses to gain insight as to why each wanted to become a MakerBot StarterLab. This second set of responses comes from Dr. John Rieffel, Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Union College. The interview was conducted via email, and the transcript is here below.
1) What prompted you to look into establishing a MakerBot 3D Starter Lab in your campus? Had anyone among the staff and faculty including yourself had experience with other 3D printers or 3D design?
We invited Makerbot CEO (and Union Alum) Jenny Lawton to give a talk on campus shortly afterward, and she was really excited about our ambition of integrating 3D printing and Maker Culture into all of the liberal arts, not just STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) fields. We couldn't have launched this Starter Lab without Jenny's help.
2) What types of reactions have you had across campus since it was announced?
3) What has been done to promote its existence and technology? Have you begun any cross-campus partnerships since its inception both on campus or out in the community?
4) Who all is able to take advantage of having this type of resource on campus? Is it limited to students taking courses or pursuing degrees in computer science or related fields like engineering?
5) What impact do you think it has had on the education of your students? Does it give your students a competitive edge over those from other schools?
6) How long has the Starter Lab actually been up, running, and in use? I see from your website that seniors do a final design project. Are any of them this year using the Starter Lab for their work/research?
7) What have been the biggest challenges presented and how have they been overcome or handled? What have been the biggest surprises, if any?
8) What advice, if any, would you give to another professor or business who is interested in establishing a Starter Lab on their campus or a place of business?
9) What are some of the long-term goals of your department as it relates to both 3D printing and education in general?
10) What materials/filament are you printing with, and what are some of the products you have printed that you are most proud of so far?
To see the first interview in the set, see Becoming a MakerBot Starter Lab, Part 1.