The NextFab Partnership

Wilmington University students now have access to laser-cutters, 3D printers and electronics and software-training labs, thanks to the College of Technology’s partnership with NextFab, a collaborative makerspace network that opened a location in Wilmington’s Creative District last year.

Students work on a Go Baby Go project at NextFab in Delaware.

With two other locations in Philadelphia, NextFab provides direct access to equipment, software, training, and consultants for a diverse, collaborative community who pay monthly membership fees.

Dr. Mary Ann Westerfield, dean of the College of Technology, calls the partnership “a really nice fit.”

“Through our Maker Certificate, students will be able to utilize the cutting-edge technology that NextFab offers,” she says. “Deeply rooted in STEAM initiatives and philosophy, the Maker Certificate aims to create critical thinkers who can implement solutions using technology. The Maker Certificate fosters innovation, collaboration and problem-solving. These skills and ideals will be enhanced through access to and learning experiences obtained with NextFab.”

Scott Shaw, chair of Game Design & Development and Video & Motion Graphics in the College of Technology, says students will begin utilizing the NextFab facility during the Spring Semester.

Shaw emphasizes that the Makers Certificate, which comprises five courses, is open to any student, not just technology majors. Education majors, for instance, may have a 3D printer in the classroom and want to learn how to use it. Business majors may have an idea for a product that can be brought to market.

Shaw says there are opportunities “for just about any area of the university” to leverage the Makers Certificate, and the NextFab partnership enhances those opportunities.

Summing up, he says: “It’s pretty awesome stuff.” WU