Odessa College adds Fab Lab camp

New to the Odessa College summer camp scene this year is the Fab Academy at the Fab Lab on campus.

Adriana Moreno is the director of the Fab Lab and Danielle Collins is the assistant director.

The camp will be two separate weeks — June 7-10 and July 12 to 15 and hours will be 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Spots are limited and the age range is 12 to 15.

“Each day, we’re actually going to be taking them through learning the equipment and also making something with the equipment. So, for example, we’ll start day one on our 3D printers. We’ll show them 3D modeling, and the process of setting up their prototype to print; Then day two, we have them working on the laser engravers. Day three would be showing them how to program circuits, as well as some soldering and then day four, we have them working on our shopbot area, which is our is a CNC router. Meanwhile, they’re working on one big project that culminates at the end of the week …,” Moreno said.

The work will be displayed for a month in a gallery, either in the lab or at the Phillips Goff Gallery in Sedate Hall, Collins said.

Moreno said this would give the youngsters a chance to try out some areas of interest that might be in the STEM fields.

“We hope to start introducing them to coming to college and really cultivating that college-going culture is something that we hope to do with this specific age range,” Moreno added.

The lab is open to not only students and employees, but the whole Permian Basin community.

“So when we introduce camps to this specific age group, they start being able to really wrap their mind around some of the different technology that they might see in the workplace, eventually, once they potentially graduate, high school or college,” Moreno said. “And here they get to really have a lot of hands-on activities and learn skills that they can then use in the workplace. So we want to start them young. We really want to be a funnel for specific degree pathways, and really provide those opportunities to students,” Moreno said.

She added that she and Collins enjoy working with students.

“We really want this space to be not just for traditional college age, but we want we want to see little ones all the way up,” Moreno said.

Moreno and Collins are a brand-new team. Moreno started Feb. 15 and Collins started March 15.

Moreno said she came over from the testing center and was initially splitting her time between the Fab Lab and testing center.

Collins was the lead laboratory technician at University of Texas Permian Basin over the art department. In that position, she took care of all the art labs including the woodshop, metal shop, welding, sculpture, ceramics, printmaking and many other areas.

For Moreno, who has been at OC for six years, it was a chance to use her creativity and to help people bring their projects to life.

“I also really enjoy interacting with people, so I was excited to work with students and the community members … to experience and interact with people on so many different levels. There’s an aspect to teaching in the Fab Lab, as well …,” she said.

Collins first became familiar with the Fab Lab at its opening and worked with the previous director Cedric Bleiming.

Moreno said they have their plans in place and are working on registration and getting the word out.

“I’m really excited for the kids to come in excited because usually when you have kids come in for a summer camp that they’re excited about, they bring in all these new ideas and ways of looking at things and ways that they grasp concepts and apply what you teach them to what they’re doing. It’s always really fun to see their understanding of things and then how they incorporate that with the background they already have,” Collins said.

The lab reopened March 15 after being closed due to COVID.