Teenagers from Bay Area junior high and high schools are spending two weeks in the CITRIS Invention Lab at UC Berkeley, using things like laster cutters and 3D printers to spread their maker wings and fly.
“In middle school, we would look online at things that people already made,” says Eddie Agnew, a 14-year-old entering Berkeley High School this fall. “I want to learn about how to use all the equipment and make some cool stuff.”
For the first time this year, the students are being welcomed into the 1,700-square-foot makerspace on the first floor of Sutardja Dai Hall through a formal internship program.
They receive training to operate the lab’s rapid-fabrication equipment, and are working on collaborative STEM projects that vary from building an underwater ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle) and “open lab equipment” that uses universal cellphone adapters for microscopes to a conservation drone so quiet as not to disturb wildlife.
Interns can also learn more about what the university experience is really like. “Outside of college, it can be hard to understand exactly what higher education is,” says Chris Myers, senior lab manager. “A lot of people think it’s all just book studying. We can show the kinds of programs for hands-on learning and creating physical objects.”