Education & Mentorship @

Jan 4, 2016 by The . Topics include , , , , , , , , , , ,

This article was originally published at The

Curiosity starts us down new paths of inquiry. As a collaborative workspace, is set-up to allow members to learn from and alongside one another as a community.

We have established a mentoring model to encourage members to share their knowledge and experience with others. A mentorship at partners an expert in their field with a self-directed individual. The student brings to the mentor their interest in a particular field and an idea for a project. The mentor serves as a resource for the student by helping through roadblocks. Essentially, intrinsic motivation is the driving force within the student. They meet once a week at the Academy for at least 30 minutes; longer if the mentor is inclined. A mentorship works on a month-to-month plan.

Ethan Kohlbacher has been participating in the Maker Fellowship, our inaugural mentoring program. Ethan shared, “I started the project with a simple cardboard model that morphed into a structure with longer arms, taller center, less unnecessary weight, and all-in-all a better design. I really liked learning to solder, and how to use OnShape [online 3D-CAD software].” He has worked with a few different mentors to help with various aspects of his project including 3D-CAD and 3D-printing. Overall, Ethan’s project exemplifies the process, Ethan saying, “One thing I learned is that the finished project very rarely looks like the original design.”

Another option is offering a 4-week class that meets once a week for a couple of hours. A class will likely have up to ten enrollees and will be project based. Consecutive classes can be offered that build upon the previous month’s project, or present another facet of a particular discipline. Envision a small group learning about 3D-printing, Arduino, robotics, coding/programming, 3D-CAD, quad-copters, Adobe Creative Cloud, or CNC routing.

At, we have the resources for the preceding list, providing a space ripe for experimentation. Of course, you do not have to enroll for a class or mentorship, as a member, you have access to these resources all the time. If you are interested in using particular equipment, contact our Lab Tech, Ed Elser ( ), to schedule a time for a certification class. If you are interested in quickening your learning curve through a mentorship or participating in a class, contact our Program Coordinator, Chase Lanier ( ).

For those interested in being a mentor or facilitating a class, fill out our Mentoring Questionnaire. We’ll contact you in the event someone is interested in your area of expertise. Depending on the number of people in a class, mentors/facilitators can have their membership to paid for, or be paid directly.

Standard membership begins at $20/month and gets you four visits during the month. Mentorships and classes are $60/month on top of the membership level at which you join. Some classes require additional costs for materials. Read more about our membership levels here.

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Located in a historic 1802 Schoolhouse, our space is divided into two wings. One for learning and prototyping, and one for coworking and business incubation. Our membership comes from a wide variety of backgrounds that all consider themselves some measure of hacker, maker, and doer. I am an architect. We have entrepreneurs, business people, teachers, engineers, designers, artists, and Jacks and Jill’s of all trades, and of course many software and hardware developers.

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