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Program brings colleges together

September 26, 2013

 

JOHN SADLER
Staff Reporter

 

A marketable skill is the ultimate goal of a college degree, but sometimes classes alone are not enough to give students the experience they need.

 

The Thingery is a new kind of learning environment. Located in University Hall, it is a place where students can hone their skills by designing and producing marketable products.

 

“It is a place where students can get together and learn from each other,” said Billy Dia, a project manager at the Enterprise Center.

 

Dave Norris explains the continued progress of The Thingery. - Photo by Devin Dronnett

Dave Norris explains the continued progress of The Thingery. – Photo by Devin Dronnett

The Thingery consists of a classroom and equipment used for collaborative projects from students across all fields of study.

 

“We expect and want students to come use this space,” Dia said. “We’ll have workshops to teach them how to use the equipment, and then the students can have ownership of this place.”

 

Dia said that the equipment in the lab is expensive and sometimes dangerous, so learning how to properly operate the machines is important.

 

“We have a laser cutter that I’ve seen used by architecture students to cut bends and curves,” Dia said. “This machine has the potential to cut hands off, but our workshop will teach students how to use it safely.”

 

Dave Norris said the Thingery was meant to create an environment where students would feel creative and in charge.

 

“We wanted to make a place where students can visit in an interactive environment,” said Norris, the Executive Director of Enterprise and Economic Development. “It doesn’t belong to any college; we want it to be their business.”

 

Norris, who was involved in the Thingery from the very beginning, said plans for the future of the project are more expansive.

 

“We would like to have a showroom where students can display the products they have made,” Norris said. “We hope to help the students sell their products.”

 

Dia said that the reaction from the student body and faculty has been positive.

 

“Everyone who came in was excited,” Dia said. “Every time we mention it to a professor, they are glad to join.”

 

One of the students already allowed to use the Thingery is Sean Foster, a senior electrical engineering technology student.

 

“I needed a 3D printer for a project I was working on, and I got in touch with Bilal,” Foster said. “He showed me the space and I just got excited about it. I wanted to volunteer to help people use this space.”

 

Foster said he has high hopes for the future of the Thingery.

 

“I think once the word gets out about it and people know what it is, it’s going to be backlogged,” Foster said. “You’ll have to put your name on the waiting list.”

 

Norris said he believes the students are the backbone of the project and they will determine it’s eventual success.

 

“I want to encourage students not to be afraid to come over here,” Norris said. “Our staff will show them how to use the equipment, and they will gain many benefits from it.”

 

Email comments to jts040@latech.edu.

 

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