Maker Camp offers 21st century skills

Students in UTPB's Maker Camp design lightsaber handles at computers in the library Wednesday. The camp lasts two weeks and is one of many the university is offering this summer. (Ruth Campbell|Odessa American)

For its first Maker Camp, University of Texas Permian Basin is offering a chance to use all kinds of Makerspace equipment.

3D printers, 3D scanners, laser cutter/engravers, vinyl/paper cutters, heat presses, embroidery machines among others are available to campers. Maker Camp is being held in the UTPB library Innovation Lab.

Executive Director of the Office of Innovation & Commercialization Brian Shedd said they were making lightsabers with the kids’ names on them.

They just finished a bridge build challenge and smashed some bridges earlier.

“It’s pretty fun and they’re going to finish these so that we can go print them. While they’re printing, because they take about a day to print, we’re actually going to be starting on a zipline challenge this afternoon. They’re actually going to be making a little thing that’s going to hold an egg and we’re going to run it all the way from the top, all the way to the back of the lab,” Shedd said Wednesday. “That’ll be tomorrow.”

There are three counselors including himself, Jon Rogers, the Makerspace director, and Jessie Chavez, the laboratory manager for the Advanced Manufacturing Center at the CEED Building.

Blackstone LaunchPad Campus Director Danna Church will do an entrepreneurship module next week.

“Next week, we’re going to challenge them to come up with their own business concepts. If it’s a computer website, we’re going to help them do a mock-up. If it’s a product, we’ll help them prototype it,” Shedd said.

Arman Saravanan, who is going into eighth grade at Abell Junior High School in Midland, said he likes making things.

“I like designing modeling. I took a designing modeling class this previous year and I really loved it. Entrepreneurship interests me and all the aspects of this camp I just found fascinating,” Arman said.

He added that he thinks the camp is great.

“I would definitely recommend it. There’s a lot of thinking involved and it really makes you think about what you want to do later in life,” Armand said.

Sahana Saravanan, Arman’s sister, is going into seventh grade at the Young Women’s Leadership Academy in Midland.

“I like being creative and I love problem solving. I just really like helping other people and solving problems that could make an impact on the world,” Sahana said.

She added that she really likes the camp.

“It’s really fun and I think that most people should try it because they have so many skills that you can learn from this camp about problem solving and just being creative,” Sahana said.