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Sierra College Mechatronics Students’ Projects Benefit Humanity

Originally appeared in the Colfax Record on June 5, 2017.

Sierra College students invent for social good at makerspace

Sierra College mechatronics students developed and presented projects designed to make a positive impact on the world at a May 22 showcase event at Hacker Lab powered by Sierra College.

The students were supported by US Bank and the Sierra College Foundation.

Vivian Raeside won first-place for her “Solar-Powered Water Purification System.” David Ramey won second-place for his “Mech 90 Rat Trap” and Barbara Nichols won third-place for her “Automatic Cat Food Dispenser.”

Read the rest of the article about Sierra College Mechatronics student inventors and the benefit of Hacker Lab powered by Sierra College in the Colfax Record. Sierra College Students invent for social good at makerspace

Sacramento Students Document Makerspace Planning Process

Sacramento City College students created blog posts and a documentary as part of their makerspace planning.

This short documentary shows the process the college went through to develop their makerspace plan as part of the CCC Maker project.

Our SCC Makerspace Documentary (7 min.) – SCC Maker Planning Team – Sacramento City College

Check out the Sacramento City College blog posts sharing the steps that they went through in their makerspace planning process: http://www.scc.losrios.edu/maker/

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Student Posters Build Awareness at Sacramento City College

To build enthusiasm for making, a student team designed posters that are being put up all over campus, explained Tom Cappelletti, Professor, Graphic Communication, Sacramento City College.

“There are eight students on the makerspace team representing Graphic Communication, Engineering Design Technology, Computer Science, and the Art Departments,” said Cappelletti. “They are an integral part of our planning and creating campus awareness.”


3-3-we-make 3-2-we-make

Sacramento City College student designed campaign to increase awareness on campus

Sacramento City College student designed campaign to increase awareness on campus

Sacramento City College student designed campaign to increase awareness on campus

Sacramento City College student designed campaign to increase awareness on campus

Sacramento City College student designed campaign to increase awareness on campus

Sacramento City College student designed campaign to increase awareness on campus

Sacramento City College student designed campaign to increase awareness on campus

Sacramento City College student designed campaign to increase awareness on campus

Sacramento City College student designed campaign to increase awareness on campus

Sacramento City College student designed campaign to increase awareness on campus

Sacramento City College student designed campaign to increase awareness on campus

Sacramento City College student designed campaign to increase awareness on campus

Students and Faculty Make Projects at Maker Night Makerspace

Author: Steve Hunter, Mechatronics Department Chair Emeritus, Emeritus, and Team Leader for CCCC Maker Sierra College Makerspaces

Sierra College held a Maker Night and Open house on May 4. Student makerspace leaders organized the event and planned projects that participants could make quickly, so they could finish several in one night. The goal was to provide attends with a maker experience and get to know the community.

The event was promoted through classroom presentations by student maker ambassadors who also conducted a student survey about makerspaces. Flyers were distributed across campus and they were emailed out to faculty. Additional social media was used to promote the event.


Nearly 100 people came to the event, most from campus as well as some from the wider community. Attendees were welcomed, toured the space, enjoyed refreshments and then started making projects. They welded candle stick holders, made custom necklaces on the laser cutter, added art to a community art piece made of laser cut pieces, tried Virtual Reality, sewed pin cushions on multiple machines, check out 3D printing and worked in the metal fabrication area.

The student maker area leaders observed that attendees really responded to customized making. For instance, in the laser cutting area, hearts were set up for people to add their names to them. Guests started asking if they could make something else.


Student, Heather Lee, who was leading the laser cutter area, quickly responded by giving them access to images that they could add to the wood. They were delighted to make something that meant something to them. She also created a mandala that guests could join in decorating a part to create a community art piece.

Some of the possible improvements the CCC maker team discussed included having a more noticeable sign where people sign in and an incentive to encourage signing in. It was suggested that we train more tour guides, and prepare them with engaging stories. Another idea was to capitalize on the interest in family programming that would appeal to students and faculty who are parents.


CSM Earth Day Celebration & Eco Art Poster Exhibition

Paul Hankamp, Biology Professor 
Vera Fainshtein, Associate Graphic Design Professor, Digital Media Department

CSM celebrated its 3rd Annual Earth Day on April 19, 2017 in the College Center. Continuing CSM’s commitment to our Sustainability Plan, this year’s event included a broad cross-section of sustainability themes, with special attention to social justice. The number of exhibits has increased from 19 in 2015 to 29 this year. Of the 29 total exhibits, 8 were student groups and 21 were community partners. Student participants visited a variety of organizations in four categories: Biodiversity, Water, Waste and Energy.

  • Botany Club showcased their Living Wall Installation.
  • Umoja and the Cultural Awareness Board did social-justice-themed presentations.
  • Fine Arts Club did a participatory art project in which 100’s of students made a collage made from 1000’s of squares of recycled paper.
  • Jazz Ensemble performed a set.
  • Mana students showcased their 10 poster presentations on climate change issues facing pacific islanders.
  • Geology Club showed land tortoises.
  • Astronomy Club set up solar scopes on the plaza for looking at the sun.
  • The Libray Makerspace hosted workshops including tote bags from up-cycled t-shirts.

Exhibitors included live animal ambassadors from Wildlife Associates presenting the “Spirit of the Rainforest” and live turtles on the green space in front of the College Center. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, California State Parks, San Mateo City and County Sustainability Programs, Sustainable San Mateo, Recology, Fresh Approach, Breath California, CalWater, and New Leaf Community Market returned this year. Tesla, Pacific Coast Farmer’s Market Association, Costco and the San Mateo Bee Guild were new to the event. Over 70 student and faculty volunteers assisted at the event.

Students discussed sustainability ideas with each organization. After learning from these conversations, they collected a stamp. When they had collected four stamps of each type, they wrote a personal pledge based upon what they had learned about sustainable living. In exchange for the pledges, they received organic packaged snacks from companies committed to sustainable business practices. Prizes were raffled to the students that pledged. Over 150 personal pledges were received.

College of San Mateo Digital Media Department presented Eco Art: Graphic Design for Change, an international traveling poster exhibition. It is designed to inspire positive change in the community by promoting ecological values central to the global environment and sustainable lifestyles on a macroscopic scale. In addition to displaying the work of international designers, the exhibit features a selection of posters created by CSM design students, selected by the curator of the Eco Art show, Olga Severina. To provide successful design solutions, digital media students researched themes provided by Biology student research.

By bringing the Eco Art exhibit to College of San Mateo, the goal of the Digital Media Department was to raise awareness about current environmental issues, foster collaboration between Digital Media and Biology, and provide our students with a valuable opportunity to further their careers by showcasing their work in a prestigious design show. Both the exhibition and student posters contest will be on display at CSM through May 22.

Link to International Poster Exhibition and Student Poster Contest: https://www.flickr.com/photos/fanya37/34339141291/in/datetaken/

OCC Hosts “Makers Academy” Pathway Day

AUTHOR: Steve Fuchs, Assistant Professor of Architecture & Design Fabrication

On April 28th, Orange Coast College (OCC) hosted a maker-focused college and career pathway day. In attendance were thirty (26) students from Estancia High School’s construction program, a regional occupational program offered through Coastline College (one of our sister schools). Their teacher Michael Rafferty also teaches guitar making and woodworking at OCC.

Together with Dr. Dean Abernathy and Steve Fuchs, both professors in OCC’s Architecture Technology program, Rafferty, his assistants, and the OCC team led 3 hours of activities focused on CNC routing a small table that was personalized on a laser cutter. Each student was introduced to general shop safety, craftsmanship, 2D drawing in CAD software (Rhino), and basic use of makerspace equipment. Over 10 college-level design students with fabrication knowledge assisted and oversaw two groups of students throughout the entire making process (CNC group & 3D/laser cutting group). Each group was divided into a team of 2–3 students to keep instructor-to-student ratio low.

Highlights included students winning the final tables, if their personalized element was a specific size that fit into a CNC’s pocket on the table top. Overheard were comments like, “Dude, I’m SO stoked!”, “You can do it girl—you’re a maker!”, and “I never knew a place like this existed.” OCC is preparing for their first summer “Makers Academy”, a 3-week dynamic, hands-on bridge program that will introduce students to design thinking, 3D modeling, coding, and prototyping techniques used in a makerspace environment. As they design and create projects that solve real-world problems, the program’s students will fully immerse in maker culture and many of the same makerspace technologies used in the pathway day, including: 3D printers, laser cutters, CNC routing, and robotics.

Upon reflection during the lunch that was provided, organizers learned this type of hands-on outreach was tangibly beneficial for the high school students, our design students, professors, and counselors at both schools. OCC is in the process of completing a mobile makerspace and expanding its existing makerspace to facilitate design and making experiences on campus, at local schools, and community events. They hope to provide an increased number of opportunities to their entire ecosystem and newly targeted/underserved populations in their region to be exposed to—and meaningfully experience—new and less conventional college and career pathways, using the CCC Maker grant as a catalyst for sustainably supporting makers in California’s vibrant and creative economy.

College of Alameda MESA Program Wins Gold

Submitted by Camille Santana, M.S., MESA Counselor, and Mylla Truong, MESA Student Leader

This article originally appeared in the College of Alameda Splash Newsletter, Vol. 40 May 4, 2017.

CoA’s MESA Program Wins Gold Medal in Walk on Water Engineering Competition

College of Alameda’s MESA Program, with support from Laney’s Fablab, earned the top prize for Innovative Engineering and Design at the East Bay MESA Alliance’s annual Engineering Competition, Walk on Water, held on Saturday, April 15, 2017, at Chabot College, in Hayward.

The engineering competition is intended as an interactive, engaging, friendly competition between high school juniors and senior, and community college students.

MESA students from Chabot College, Los Medanos College, Diablo Valley College, and College of Alameda brought their best designs to the pool, but only one team emerged on top; and that was CoA’s MESA team—nicknamed “The Alameda Bosses.”

The key to their success: collaboration.

Earlier this April, Team Leader Mylla Truong attended an inspiring informational tour of Laney College’s FabLab. The visit sparked an idea with Truong, who saw that Laney’s Fablab had ample resources, including the tools, materials, and technical knowledge that her team needed to literally walk on water.

CoA’s MESA team consisted of an interdisciplinary group of students each of whom brought a unique knowledge-set from their individual fields of study, including Mylla Truong (bioengineering major), Miguel Guerrero-Gonzalez (electrical engineering major), Francis Bautista (nursing major), Warren Kocal (biology major), and Christian Rodriguez (mechanical engineering major).

The MESA team collaborated closely with several professors across the Peralta district, who provided key insights and support, including Laney College Physics Professor Allen Nicol, and CoA’s Physics Professor Andrew Park, Chemistry Professor Jacob Schlegel, and Math Chair Vanson Nguyen.

COA’s MESA Program expresses the utmost appreciation and gratitude to everyone at Laney College’s FabLab for this unique and winning collaboration.


Student Plans Successful Game Night at Makerspace

Author: Steve Hunter, Mechatronics Department Chair Emeritus, and Team Leader for CCC Maker Sierra College Makerspaces

A student’s idea to host a Game Night & LAN Party + Anime turned out more successful than anyone imagined with over 100 attendees. The concept for the event was generated by Jose Gonzales, a student leader at Hacker Lab powered by Sierra College in Rocklin and a member of the CCC Maker implementation planning team. The event achieved the goal of attracting students unfamiliar with the makerspace to experience the community.

“Hacker Lab aims to be an inclusive and diverse space, and on the initial suggestion of a night focused on video games, there were concerns that the event would reflect the hyper-masculine mid-2000s video game culture,” said Gonzales. To attract a more diverse group, Gonzales said he: “targeted marketing at students with three intersecting but distinct groups of interests: traditional gaming (board games- ‘comic-shop gamers’), video games and Anime fans who are associated with cosplay.”


He intentionally chose promotional language to appeal to the targeted audience. “We titled the event, Game Night & LAN Party +Anime, and in the Facebook description wrote, ‘the intention is to attract as many flavors of nerds to the space as possible,’” said Gonzales.

When marketing support was offered, Gonzales insisted that the flyer be developed by students who understand students. The black and white flyer was filled with text and didn’t look like any official college marketing materials, and that was the point. “The flyer included gamer jargon and the anime references served as coded messages demonstrating authenticity,” said Gonzales. “A brief list of games was mentioned, selected for their popularity.”

Flyers and word-of-mouth, were the most effective in attracting attendees. “While a Facebook group event was created, only six people RSVP’d through the platform, said Gonzales. “The Meetup group generated one lone response.”


Over 700 flyers blanketed the campus just two days before the event. Prospective attendees responded to Gonzales’ offer on the flyer to text him for more information. Students asked about games, offered to bring their consoles and communicated that they’d be there after work. The flyer also included a QR code that students could scan for more information.

To gain a deeper understand of what worked to attract the crowd, at the event, Gonzales conducted informal research during the event. “I began with – ‘this is not a survey,’” said Gonzales. “Of the 40 people I polled, there was no mention of social media or email. Nearly half mentioned the flyer as their exposure to the event, with the remainder citing word-of-mouth.”

The flyer suggested that participants could play board games such as Catan, Smal World and Cards Against Humanity. Console games included All the Smash, Halo 4, Goldeeye, Mario Cart and Jackbox. PC gamers were encouraged to “bring their rigs” to play CSGO, League and Overwatch.


“Of the games mentioned on the flyer, approximately 20% were provided by Hacker Lab,” said Gonzales. “As I expected, most games were brought by attendees.”

Hacker Lab provided the space and displays for gaming consoles, explained Gonzales. “Three TVs and two projectors were available and the ‘demand’ of attendee hardware outstripped supply,” said Gonzales. “One intrepid group of gamers brought their own TV. There were no complaints that specific games were missing.”

According to Gonzales, the variety of activities resulted in a natural sorting of the space. “One side of the building was well-lit and relatively quiet, facilitating board game play,” said Gonzales. “The other end of the building was dark but for the glow of PC monitors and the accompanying yelling. The gradual transition between the two areas allowed guests to choose the environment in which they were most comfortable.”

One of the goals of the Game Night was to promote the Maker Night being offered one week later. Several people did come the following week and they are considering joining the makerspace. Sierra College students can join for $12.50 per month or buy a semester pass for $100 that includes two classes for certification to use equipment in two labs of their choice.

The CCC Maker team members debriefed after the event to record what they’d learned. They discussed improving furniture layout, recruiting more volunteers to set up and run the event, having more equipment available, improving the sign in process and the importance of having enough food. The student leaders have already planned another event focused on cosplay.





$10,000 ‘space grant’ awarded to Woodland Community College

This article by Democrat Staff originally appeared in the Daily Democrat on 2-13-17.

Woodland Community College math instructor Shawn Lanier and MESA students reported receiving a $10,000 California Space Grant Consortium grant this week.

Read the rest of the article here: http://www.dailydemocrat.com/article/NI/20170213/NEWS/170219953



NASA Space Grant Awarded for Drone Project

by Gurtaj Grewal

This article was originally published in The Eagle’s Call, the official newspaper of Woodland Community College on March 20, 2017.

Earlier this semester, Woodland Community College was awarded a prestigious NASA Space Grant for a drone project designed by WCC students and Math Professor Shawn Lanier. According to Prof. Lanier, the California Space Grant Consortium Project was a grant offered to community colleges in California to help boost the STEM and MESA programs.

According to Prof. Lanier, this has been an entirely student-driven initiative. “A group of [students] heard about the grant and came to me asking if I was willing to write it with them and if I would be their mentor on it.

Read the rest of the article here:   https://www.scribd.com/document/342740787/Volume-3-Issue-1-3-20-17-Final#fullscreen&from_embed