Kristin Fontichiaro to judge White House makerspace challenge

Clinical assistant professor Kristin Fontichiarohas been selected to judge the Career and Technical Education (CTE) Makeover Challenge, a White House initiative launched this week by the U.S. Department of Education, which calls on high schools across the country to design makerspaces that strengthen next-generation career and technical skills.

The Challenge will support the Department of Education in seeking models of sustainable makerspaces across a wide range of facility types, such as classrooms, libraries, and mobile spaces, that it can share with educators to encourage the creation of affordable, scalable, and replicable makerspaces.

The CTE Makeover Challenge was first announced last year at the 2015 White House Maker Faire in support of President Barack Obama’s Nation of Makers initiative, an all-hands-on-deck call to give students access to a new class of technologies, such as 3D printers, laser cutters and desktop machine tools.

With a cash prize pool of $200,000, Fontichiaro and five other judges from the multidisciplinary panel will choose up to ten honorees to receive $20,000 in cash, as well as additional sponsor prizes, to create their makerspace. Honorees will showcase their makerspaces at the World Maker Faire in New York City in October 2016.

During the Challenge, eligible schools will gain access to the CTE Makeover Bootcamp, a 6-week virtual program that provides resources and expertise in makerspace design, lesson planning, sustainability strategies, and community engagement. At the completion of the Bootcamp, schools will send in final submissions that include detailed design plans, budgets, and implementation strategies.

Honorees will be selected based on five selection criteria: Innovative, Replicable, Multi-functional, Feasible, and Sustainable, with additional consideration for designs that address the needs of low-income students.

The application deadline is April 1; a webinar will be held on March 17 to explain the competition.

“By democratizing the tools and skills necessary to design and make just about anything, Maker-related events and activities can inspire more people to pursue careers in design, advanced manufacturing, and the related fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and possibly take their creations to the next level and become entrepreneurs,” states a White House press release announcing last year’s Week of Making, which coincides with the National Maker Faire in D.C.

This year, the National Week of Making will take place on June 17-23, followed by the National Maker Faire on June 18-19.

Posted March 10, 2016