Starting in May 2015, SparkMacon launched Project Renaissance, a pilot scholarship program designed to support students in their creativity and grow their skills as makers. In this one year program, students will attend monthly workshops to become proficient in the following areas: coding, 3d modeling, 3d printing, laser cutting, electronics, arduino, robotics, video editing, and costume making. In the final months of the program, students will be challenged to design their own project utilizing their favorite aspects of the makerspace and then present that project to the maker community at one of our First Friday Open Make events. To help students and teachers achieve their project goals, all students and teachers receive full membership to SparkMacon makerspace giving them access to all of our educational programs, software, and tools.
This scholarship program is made possible through the generous support of the Georgia Technology Authority (GTA) and the Middle Georgia Regional Commission. As part of this scholarship program pilot, SparkMacon will be sharing lessons learned and lesson plans with other makerspaces in Georgia who are also implementing their own respective scholarship programs. I believe this is very exciting as we will all learn from each other and support future makerspaces also. Since all of the makerspaces are coordinating their young maker program schedules during this pilot, we’ll have the opportunity to share what works and ways that we can improve the student experiences.
To help implement this program, we have partnered with Real I.M.P.A.C.T Center Inc, to connect and serve young ladies who aspire to grow their skills in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Beyond the practical STEM technology skills, this program enables these students to connect with positive mentors and a supportive learning culture. Make sure to check out Real I.M.P.A.C.T Center ( http://www.realimpactcenter.com/ ). Our team at SparkMacon admire the work Geneva West and her leaders do to grow their students. Real I.M.P.A.C.T offers STEM Education programs for girls to help close the gender gap in STEM. Girls are empowered monthly at “STEMtastic Saturday” workshops and during the summer for Girl Power STEM Summer Camp. I know that we’ll learn a great deal from their leadership.
We are very thankful to our college student leaders who will be serving as mentors throughout the program. The college student leaders will receive specialized training to support them in their mentorship roles. Additionally, our college student leaders will have full membership access to the makerspace. We encourage our student leaders to use the makerspace to execute their own projects, experiment, tinker, or develop their own entrepreneurship concepts. We appreciate their time and commitment to the program.
We also want to give a shout out to Glen Stone from Central Georgia Technical College and Geneva West from Real I.M.P.A.C.T Center Inc. They will be offering mentorship support to all of our teachers, coaches, and students. We appreciate their investment of time and energy.
To the SparkMacon leadership team, thank you for all your hard work and dedication to help make this program possible. We’re looking forward to making a difference in the lives of these students.
Make sure to learn more about our “cousin” Makerspaces participating in the GTA Scholarship Program.