As an institution, how would you define 'maker culture'?

The UTEP ‘maker culture’ fosters innovation and creativity with the goal to graduate engineers with superior design and make skills, especially ‘design and make thinking’ skills. Fostering a strong commitment to research in the Additive Manufacturing and 3D Printing. 

How does your institution foster maker culture?

UTEP’s College of Engineering launched an extensive effort to develop world class ‘maker’ infrastructures. The effort which was sustained by securing external capital funds and internal resources delivered several new learning facilities (, including the Lockheed Martin Mechanical Engineering Laboratory and Design and Practice Studios I and II. These are not only state of the art facilities but also highly inspiring spaces for recruiting tomorrow’s engineering students.

How are you approaching maker education with your current or future curricula?

UTEP’s mechanical engineering program transitioned into a reorganized undergraduate curriculum to create a 'design and make centric’ learning environment. The change is in part due to the department’s aspiration for graduate engineers with superior ‘design and make thinking’ skills. The curriculum places an emphasis on developing skills to tackle design issues of engineered systems with many interdependent and heterogeneous subsystems. The goal is to train students with core technical abilities to synthesize and optimize design decisions for complex systems and ambiguous and uncertain constraint environments. The reorganized curriculum includes cornerstone and capstone design courses and across the curriculum project experiences to prepare students in conceptualizing, generating, evaluating, prototyping, and testing designs.

What are the key programs, initiatives or classes that support the development of maker skills?

Undergraduate Courses:

  • MECH 1305 Graphic and Design Fundamentals
  • MECH 2331 Materials and Manufacturing Processes
  • MECH 2131 Manufacturing Engineering Lab
  • MECH 3334 Mechanical Design
  • MECH 4336 Principles of Engineering Design
  • MECH 4366 Senior Design
  • MECH 4316 Thermal System Design

How are your students involved in making? Are there maker groups or organizations on campus organized by students?

Mechanical engineering courses are predominantly project based. Each class is assigned a semester long project where student groups work on various subsystems (mechanical, sensors and instrumentation, control, integration etc.) and then make, integrate, and test them to accomplish the overall project goal. The entire mechanical engineering curriculum is based on “Design, Make, and Test” philosophy.

Give a snapshot overview of the primary facilities, technologies and tools that campus makers have or will have access to?

  • Lockheed Martin Mechanical Engineering Laboratory
  • Design and Practice Studios I
  • Design and Practice Studio II.
  • W.M Keck Center for 3D Innovation -
  • State-of-the-art software – SolidWorks, Sketchup, Blender, etc. and access to almost every type of 3D printing available: photo vat polymerization, materials extrusion, powder bed fusion, materials jetting, binder jetting, and sheet lamination. Furthermore, UTEP invents its own 3d printing technologies that can print multi-functional structures.

How does your school engage with the maker community at large?

UTEP’s College of Engineering has K-12 Programs such as the Science, Engineering, Mathematics and Aerospace Academy made possible by a strong collaboration between UTEP and NASA.

What partnerships (informal or formal) do you have with makers and/or community organizations outside of campus?

The College of Engineering works closely with the El Paso Independent School District and the local industry. Local industry includes local entrepreneurs. The Keck Center works with almost 100 Fortune 500 companies and virtually all major federal agencies including local doctors requiring medical modeling done pro-bono, the maquiladora industry that works across the international border requiring prototyping. 

What has been the impact of maker culture on your campus?

The department has a more than 85.0% increase in the number of BS degrees awarded and a 33% increase in total undergraduate enrollment. More than 85% graduating seniors received job offers prior to graduation.

What are the success stories relating to your maker culture?

Frank Medina – doctoral graduate and local El Pasoan – is now working at Oak Ridge National Labs with Arcam the Electron Beam Melting printing company.

One of the College of Engineering technologies is the leading technology to use 3D printing to transform the way in which Printed Circuit Boards are made – now confined to 2D.