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City College awarded $350K to build makerspace community

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Students work in the common area of CCSF’s Ocean Campus on July 18, 2017. (Mira Laing/Special to S.F. Examiner)
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A recording sound studio, photo light box and 3D printers will join a new Maker Sphere across three locations on the City College of San Francisco’s campus.

Last month, the college received a $350,000 grant to help students develop skills in science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics — also known as STEAM.

“We are creating a new space and learning environment where students can engage in learning 21st century skills,” CCSF spokesperson Jeff Hamilton said in an email. “Our students are already ‘makers’ and have been for a long time. This grant allows us to engage in cross-disciplinary learning, bringing together the skills and expertise of many of our maker departments.”

Each of the three makerspace locations will offer varying tools, with one tailored for computer work, photo editing and recording; another providing laser cutters, drill presses and 3D printing; and the third furnished with soldering equipment and tools for construction, CCSF officials said.

Students working in different locations will be able to interact with each other in real time video chats via a Telepresence system provided by Cisco.

New and exisiting CCSF students who are taking courses in arts, humanities, social sciences and sciences will have access to the Maker Sphere, Hamilton said. Starting this fall, students can register for classes to experiment with the Internet of Things and Entrepreneurship.

City College also plans to host workshops and community events for students and groups historically underserved in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) field, Hamilton said.

Success in the STEM fields require an eye for design and strong problem-solving skills provided by the arts, according to school officials.

The new Maker Sphere aims to strengthen the link between arts and science. One of the makerspace locations will display student works, including solar boat, high tech fashion apparel and architecture models.

“What happens when you have fashion students collaborating with IT students?” noted Theresa Rowland, CCSF’s associate vice chancellor of workforce development. “Amazing innovations that we can’t even anticipate today.”

Engineering, architecture and art students will help create the makerspaces in the Rosenberg Library, Science Building and Evans Center in the fall semester, Hamilton said.

The California Community College Chancellor’s Office awarded the funding to City College and 23 other colleges, which is renewable for a second year. City College will launch a maker certificate in fall of 2018, officials said.

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