Maker Week celebrates spirit of ingenuity

ASU’s College of Technology and Innovation will host its first ever Maker Week Feb. 16-23, 2012. Three key events throughout the week will engage students and the community in hands-on, do-it-yourself activities focused on science, technology and innovation. 

“Maker Week is designed for K-12 students, educators and the community to celebrate the spirit of personal ingenuity,” said Mitzi Montoya, vice provost and dean of the College of Technology and Innovation. “We want to encourage students to make things by hand, to dream and then create, to tinker, to look at something and want to take it apart to learn how it works.”

The United States has been slowly losing its position as a leader in advanced technology manufacturing and innovation over the past two decades, said Montoya, and the pipeline of students choosing to enter science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers is insufficient to meet future needs. 

“A core focus at ASU’s College of Technology and Innovation is transforming the ways that students and educators learn about and experience science, technology, engineering, math and entrepreneurship,” said Montoya. “Maker Week aligns perfectly with that model; inspiring students to imagine, invent, create and make.” 

In addition to hands-on, experimental and do-it-yourself exhibits and projects, Maker Week will feature the Duel in the Desert scrimmage for FIRST Robotics and showcase contestants in the Real World Design Challenge (RWDC).

The Real World Design Challenge (RWDC) is a new national competition that provides high school students all over the country the opportunity to work on real world engineering challenges. Arizona Governor Jan Brewer announced the state’s participation in the RWDC in 2011 to encourage students to pursue careers in engineering and technology, increase interest in key STEM fields and have fun while doing it. The state-winners of the Arizona RWDC will be announced at the Maker Week events. Those winners will advance to the national competition.

“The RWDC approach to creating real-world solutions for real-world problems aligns perfectly with our approach to project based learning at the College of Technology and Innovation,” said Montoya. “Hosting the RWDC student projects and awards ceremony during Maker Week drives home the message that we are committed to advancing STEM education.

“We are excited to host such a unique and fun event,” said Montoya. “We encourage everyone to attend Maker Week. From K-12 students and their families to educators and community partners, there is something for everybody. 

Maker Week events

Maker Pitch, Feb. 16: An idea pitch event to excite students and the public about inventive ideas, sharing new concepts, and building solutions to pressing challenges. 

Maker Faire, Feb. 18: An event filled with project demonstrations, do-it-yourself activities, workshops, and the Duel in the Desert scrimmage for FIRST Robotics. Maker Faire is supported by MAKE Magazine and is an AZ SciTech Festival event. 

Making Your Future, Feb. 23: A one-day conference that will feature compelling speakers, including young entrepreneurs from across the nation, ASU faculty, and others who will discuss the academic and career opportunities available where technology, science and business converge. The event will also showcase contestants in the Real World Design Challenge.