The 8,500-square-foot MakerSpace is a honeycomb of student activity and a lure for future UMass Lowell engineering students ... and it's always buzzing.
UMass Lowell has always been known for graduating “work ready” graduates that have a strong foundation with hands-on learning. A Makerspace is a space designated for people to gather, create, invent and learn, have been appearing on campuses across the country as part of the “maker movement,” a term coined with the rekindling of interest in manufacturing in America and a desire to balance our economy between manufacturing and service. UMass Lowell is at the front of this movement, having recently been named one of 25 “MakeSchools” across the nation. This Lawrence Lin Makerspace keeps us at the forefront of this movement, and more importantly, provides a state-of-the-art facility for our students to innovate.
The Lin Makerspace allows students from all majors and ages to intermingle in a state-of-the-art space while refining designs and developing prototypes. Design courses “Introduction to Engineering” (cornerstone) and “Senior Capstone Design” (capstone) are held in the space such that students of all ages and from all majors can develop prototypes for coursework, pursue their own innovations or build projects for their engineering clubs. The desire is to keep the space open 24/7 such that students can work anytime, as innovation never sleeps.
“This is about making things real - all the time, students learn equations and math and how to do things. This maker space will let students at all levels realize their ideas… students interacting and applying concepts learned in classes creates enthusiasm, and “closes the loop on the educational experience, making it real.”
The 8,500-ft.2 open floorplan space is equipped with tables, lab benches, drop-down power, internet access and projection capabilities so innovators can hash out designs. With 14-foot ceilings, exposed wood beams and piping, the room has an industrial feel. Dozens of tables and lab benches, with small tools and supplies, line the space for teams to work. Transparent bay walls ensure an open feel.
“The Engineering maker space will support UMass Lowell DifferenceMakers as they invent new solutions and new products for the 21st century. This space reflects the College of Engineering’s commitment to integrating innovation and entrepreneurship into the engineering curriculum. The university is a national leader in this regard, developing programs like DifferenceMaker and facilities like the maker space that will encourage and support entrepreneurial learning and initiatives among our students for generations to come.”