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College of the Canyons is now able to provide students and staff members interested in the Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math fields with a dedicated area designed to spark creativity, spur collaboration and fuel innovation with the new MakerSpace facility.

The COC MakerSpace, which is located in the Valencia campus Student Center, has been designed as a collaborative learning area which will give users free access to tools, materials, technological resources, skills training and a variety of entrepreneurial opportunities.

“The MakerSpace is a unique learning environment that not only gives students an opportunity to bring their ideas to reality, but it also fosters the development of skills needed for successful 21st century careers,” said COC Chancellor Dr. Dianne Van Hook. “When individuals, student clubs and cohorts, staff groups and potential business partners engage, consult, collaborate and create using the facility’s tools and technology, they will learn the importance of collaboration, communication, adaptability, problem-solving, and other key attributes today’s employers look for when hiring.”

The development of the COC MakerSpace is the result of a multi-discipline collaborative effort, with several on-campus departments, administrators and faculty members contributing time, ideas and equipment to help launch this new initiative. Included among that group is staff from the COC architecture, art, theatre/stage craft, interior design, biology, engineering, computer networking, electronic systems, welding technology and information technology departments.

“The campus community has really shown a strong interest in coming together to open this facility,” said Ron McFarland, Dean, COC School of Applied Technologies. “It’s our hope that interest in the MakerSpace will continue to grow and encourage additional support and future collaboration.”

The COC Foundation has provided a $15,000 grant to help get the MakersSpace project of the ground, with further grant funding expected to be pursued as the space grows in both size and scope. Several departments and individuals have also donated additional equipment ranging from hand tools to high-end computers and microprocessors, to a laser cutter and a 3-D printer.

“When the COC MakerSpace opens it doors on Thursday it will already by stocked with a variety of tools and state-of-the-art technology and equipment for our students and staff to use, and create with,” added McFarland.

The COC MakerSpace Grand Opening and ribbon cutting ceremony will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. Thursday, May 12, in the Valencia campus Student Center, located adjacent to the cafeteria and the COC ‘Sustainability Center’ in Room PDR-1.

The event, which is free and open to the public, will include tours of the facility, hands-on tutorials and demonstrations and the opportunity for attendees to create something of their own. Food and beverages will also be provided.

Parking for the event is available in college parking lots No. 5 & 6 located off Rockwell Canyon Road.

More About ‘MakerSpaces’

Simply put, MakerSpaces are STEAM-oriented (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) workspaces. They can be free or fee-based, and are traditionally stocked with the tools, materials and staff needed to help spark creativity.

The purpose of these areas is to provide individuals with the resources they need to develop an idea — whatever that idea may be — and bring it to life.

MakerSpaces are also touted as places where individuals can learn a new skill, regardless of their prior experience or industry knowledge.

Their ‘DIY’ ethics, emphasis on self-guided learning, and belief that anyone can be a “maker” have earned MakerSpace facilities a warm reception in the educational community.

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