Maker Nation: The Beginning

By Michelle Zamora, SCC Makerspace Student Lead

I’ve been stoked about the maker movement since I heard about it last Spring. On a personal note, I often wondered how I ended up back at a community college…after receiving my BS from an accredited university. Did the educational system fail me? Was it my fault that I didn’t know what I wanted to do to make a living? But I didn’t just want to make a living, I wanted to have a career that I loved. So I went back to school to try and figure out what that was. I ended up falling in love with design—the process and creativity—and spent two and a half years taking courses that involved making. During my final semester at SCC, Tom came to us with the CCC Maker Grant, and I knew I was in the right place at the right time.

Last spring the students at SCC pulled something pretty incredible off. As part of the CCC Maker Grant Proposal, we conducted a student maker event here on campus. Over 30 students showed up to the first planning session and immediately started “brainstorming” ideas.

We couldn’t do it without Slack, our group messaging app of choice. It was extremely active with different teams constantly in communication, and a main thread keeping everyone in the loop about general events and ideas.

The team designed a giant inflatable brain. Our engineers rigged it so that each lobe would light up when an individual interacted with the task associated with that lobe. In May 2017, we successfully transported it from the SCC campus to the Maker Faire in San Mateo, where it was a great success among makers of all ages.

Tom, worked tirelessly on our Grant Proposal, making sure all his t’s were crossed and i’s dotted. Myself and a team of media students submitted a short documentary on our process and from there it was out of our hands.

In early November, I got a call from Tom. “Michelle! Were doing it! Were making a Makerspace on campus, and we need help!” We received all the money we asked for and are now in the process of making it happen.

Tom went on a shopping spree and when I joined back up with the team, we had deliveries almost every day. Universal laser cutter, iMacs and PCs, saws and drills, work benches and makerbots. The carpet was getting steamed and the walls were getting a fresh coat of paint. Students were chomping at the bits—even my friends that have never been associated with SCC wanted in.

We are in the middle of a movement—a transition that may take a decade sink in. Jobs of the twenty-first century are different and they are changing at an exponential rate. The question that fuels the maker movement is: How do we change our educational system to prepare students for the jobs of today and tomorrow? That’s what this movement is about and we are proud to be pioneering such an important shift in education at the community college level.

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