Bobcat Made was created out of a desire to have an open access research/innovation lab available to any Texas State student. The Bobcat Made lab is located on Texas State’s main campus in San Marcos. The LBJ Institute for STEM Education and Research, which bridges the College of Education and the College of Science and Engineering, wanted a creative, open maker space for any student on campus, that was not restricted to course enrollment. Whether it’s informal learning, increasing your self-efficacy in STEM or just having fun, Bobcat Made is the perfect environment to experiment!
Every student at Texas State has access to the Bobcat Made lab! The unique contribution of this lab is that ANY student can experiment, build, or construct in this space. Availability can be found on the Bobcat Made website (coming Fall 2015 at http://lbj-stem.education.txstate.edu/)
3D printer (Makerbot Replicator 5th gen.), vinyl cutter (Silhouette Cameo), laser engraver (Universal Laser System VLS3.50), embroidering machine (Bernina 580, desktop CNC machine (Nomad 883) and much more to come…
Access to Bobcat Made and its resources are free of charge! A material fee may be implemented as usage rates are established.
Bobcat Made is managed by three faculty (Dr. Kimberly Talley, PE, Department of Engineering Technology; Dr. Shaunna Smith and Dr. Araceli Ortiz, Department of Curriculum and Instruction). They are currently in the process of hiring a student worker to oversee availability and use. They also are encouraging the formation of a student club to volunteer time staffing the maker space.
By engaging in the space provided by Bobcat Made, students can learn, research, and grow in their efforts to explore innovation.
For its first semester, Fall 2015, Bobcat Made will be open to classes and groups for making events by appointment, with open access hours for all students to start in Spring 2016.
The hope is for Bobcat Made to be an innovative research lab to foster creative problem solving with generous sharing. By engaging with others who make, students can encourage each other to think outside the box in an effort to generate new ideas.
A major limitation to Maker spaces on campuses is funding, but with the help of a National Science Foundation Grant. Texas State is able to host a space available to all students. Reaching the campus with the knowledge of this unique space is the next step in the process to establishing a successful maker space.
Start with whatever resources are available and keep talking to your colleagues about your vision, as you never know where partnerships might spring up. For example, the room housing Bobcat Made is owned by the Department of Curriculum and Instruction but the Department of Engineering Technology owns the maker space’s equipment!