There are 158 STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) students enrolled at CAC. 110 of those attend Signal Peak as their primary campus. These students are all involved in rigorous courses of study, whether it be computer science, nursing, physics, or mathematics. Faculty have discussed the need for a technology-based space where students, especially STEM students, can come and flex their imaginative and creative minds. Recently that vision has been realized, at least in part. Recently, a new STEM center opened on the SPC campus, a space where students and faculty can come and study, offer each other help, work on projects, and collaborate however they like. This space is completely student led, and though the center is open to anyone interested, it emphasizes STEM fields. Not only is the center a great place to surround yourself with like-minded students and colleagues, it now offers 3D printing for participants at the center. Yes, you read correctly, there are four 3D printers now available for students and faculty. Do you have no idea what a 3D printer is? That’s fine. Come in to the center and find out, but it’s all in the name. An inkjet desktop printer lays down material in two dimensions. A 3D printer prints in an extra dimension. Up. Did your mind just explode? Don’t worry, it’s a normal response. The four printers on campus can complete prints in different kinds of plastic, and there is even a material that flexes like rubber. Want to make a custom pencil holder? Easy. Smart phone charging stand? No problem. Desktop catapult? Now you’re talking. If this has piqued your curiosity, then drop by S 115 between 3 PM and 6 PM on Mondays and Thursdays. We’ll teach you the basics and help you get certified on the machines, so you’ll be up and printing in no time. For more information about certification and workshops, see our STEM advisor and coordinator, Carrie Mcintyre.
Imagine coming in to the center with a flash drive and a lot of homework to finish. Plug your drive into one of four 3D printers in the center, get a print going, then buckle down and wreck some homework. Maybe get some help with a tough math problem from a fellow student; there is likely to be someone with experience sitting nearby. When you’re finished with homework, pick up your brand new plastic print from the printer. On your way out, remember to thank the STEM coordinator for a great idea. And there is a vision for the STEM center that goes beyond just being a glorified study room for nerds. The goal is to make the space a very active, wildly creative, and awesome place on campus. “We have plans to take this very far,” Says Mrs. Mcintyre, who spoke to me about the future of the STEM center. The possibility of using the 3D printers and other technology to create student competitions and events was mentioned and she replied, “It’s going in that direction for sure.” Come in to the STEM center on Mondays and Thursdays, from 3 PM to 6 PM in S 115, and be a part of the active group that makes STEM a big deal on the SPC campus.