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

We view the “maker culture” as one which encourages innovation, promotes collaboration, and supports STEM educational initiatives.

How does your institution foster maker culture?

We support educational, research, outreach and service activities within the College, all of which embody the Maker mandate to “change the world.” These activities range from collaborating on how to cure paralysis at the Buoniconti Center, to solving cyber security challenges, to reengineering the brain, to exploring nanotechnology’s possibilities.  

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

We have effectively integrated research and education on all levels of our educational programs, opening research labs to undergraduates and actively seeking industrial-sponsored capstone projects to provide students with real-world problems.

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

The newly created Capstone Project Program effectively challenges students to devise and produce workable solutions and prototypes for problems posed by subject matter experts in partner corporations. The students must draw on both classroom training and internship experiences to develop feasible solutions to real-world-problems.

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

In addition to the Capstone Partner Projects, students are involved in Innovaid, a joint organization between the College of Engineering and the Miller School of Medicine which attempts to identify and solve unique medical problems in developing-world countries. Likewise, Engineers Without Borders(EWB) actively engages students in designing and implementing critically needed systems and facilities at international sites. 

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

The College of Engineering houses a state-of-the art Prototyping facility (with equipment including hand-held 3-D scanners and CAD milling centers), a suite of cutting edge laboratories (with equipment including an Electron Scanning Microscope (ESM) and 3-D printing) and a nanotechnology Clean Room. On campus, there are plans for a “Makers Space” where students from across the STEM curriculum will be able to create prototypes and models for various projects.

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

We have long standing partnerships and collaborations with other higher educational institutions, such as the University of Bologna in Italy and Henan University inChina, as well as industrial organizations such as ISO and IEEE.

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

We work closely with local educational institutions through our outreach activities, such as SWE and NSBE, to encourage interests in STEM disciplines. We host “Bring a Girl to Engineering’ tours and workshops throughout the year in various under-served local middle schools.

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

We are actively partnering with the Launch Pad, a novel entrepreneurship initiative on campus that helps both students and alumni create new enterprises. 

What are the success stories relating to your maker culture?

We have several alumni who have been highly successful in the medical device industry, with numerous innovative devices and patents, as well as unique developments in sustainable materials.

Learn more about Making at University of Miami