NAU’s Cline Library and Upward Bound collaborate to make STEM hands-on

For the first time, Northern Arizona University’s Cline Library collaborated with Upward Bound Math and Science to provide students exposure to different fields of technology and the opportunity to use the MakerLab, a 3-D printing service, to design and create their own projects. 

Mark Despain, director of the program, wanted to incorporate more technology into the STEM curriculum for Upward Bound, and he knew Cline Library had 3-D printing. He contacted Janet Crum from library technology services, and she arranged the collaboration between Cline and Upward Bound.

This summer, students had the opportunity to learn about 3-D printing, building circuits and video production. They received a 90-minute lesson in each of these areas of technology and chose in which section to create a project. Through these projects, the students developed critical skills, such as teamwork and time management.

“Each student is a little different about how they are reacting to ‘Tech Time,’ but overall they love having the freedom to explore and be creative within a medium they have had little experience with,” Despain said. “Our science instructors are constantly commenting that the students are talking about their projects in their classes.”

The support from Cline staff was important for the students’ learning experience.

“During those meetings, the entire Cline staff was incredibly helpful and supportive of giving these students exposure that they may never receive at their high schools,” Despain said. “They even agreed to stay open an extra 30 minutes on their own time to accommodate the students’ schedules.

“I am very hopeful the Cline staff will allow the students a similar experience next year and for years to come.”