By Emilee Cantrell
Carruthers, Jacquez and Rashap signed a Memorandum of Understanding at the official grand opening of the Aggie Innovation Space in the Ed and Harold Foreman Engineering Complex.New Mexico State University President Garrey Carruthers, College of Engineering Dean Ricardo B. Jacquez and Intel New Mexico Corporate Services Site Manager Brian Rashap met at NMSU’s College of Engineering Wednesday for the grand opening of the Aggie Innovation Space Presented by Intel Corporation.
The facility was made possible through a generous donation of $70,000 from Intel that matched $50,000 in funding the College of Engineering received through President’s Performance Fund. These funds were leveraged with additional contributions from several other corporate partners and engineering alumni.
“Intel has a long history of supporting STEM education throughout the state. Being a part of the NMSU Aggie Innovation Space is an exciting opportunity to continue that tradition of inspiring students to collaborate, explore and discover ideas that lead to new engineering solutions while cultivating these critical skills,” Rashap said.
It is equipped with 3D printers, an electronics station, programmable development boards, robotics kits, software and low-resolution prototype materials to enhance the creation of innovation technologies.The Aggie Innovation Space was created to foster innovation and entrepreneurship by offering students access to state-of-the-art resources. It also serves as a gathering point where students can connect to work on projects. Students will also have access to experienced mentors, new technologies and the latest engineering design software and tools.
“We’re trying to discover how this university can be of greater service in developing our economy and developing businesses in New Mexico, and it all starts with a good idea, often times from a student, frequently from a faculty member, but we need to have a facility where they can then begin to work on the idea, to create the prototypes,” Carruthers said. Carruthers also said that the Aggie Innovation Space will help students and faculty develop ideas that will be useful to people and help our state.
During the ceremony, engineering students presented projects that had been developed in the innovation space.
The space has already been heavily used, since its “soft opening” at Homecoming 2013. NMSU aerospace engineering senior Sam Pedrotty has used it while developing a low-cost rocket educational tool to enhance student learning from middle school to undergraduate and NMSU electrical and mechanical engineering freshman Dakota Burrow has used the space while developing an app that can control a robot, eliminating the need for expensive computer equipment.
The faculty and staff that made the Aggie Innovation space happen were also recognized at the event. “Nobody’s worked harder than Assistant Dean Patricia Sullivan to put this space together,” Ken Ruble, operations manager of the space, said. “We have a great team that is committed to working with our students to foster creativity, innovation and the excitement the space is generating is amazing.”
There is also a collaboration with Arrowhead Center to create opportunities for staff and students to take their ideas to the next level.
“We’re very fortunate to have a dedicated space here that is making itself available to students, primarily, and to faculty to really get at the core of engineering education and that is to be more innovative about the work that they do,” Jacquez said.