MAKE (ALMOST) ANYTHING YOU CAN IMAGINE AT FAB LAB
Imagine a place where your innovative ideas and inventions can come to life and you can be the maker. Bakersfield has it! Fab Lab at CSUB invites all to explore your imagination and see what you create in fabrication. We are happy to support a place that creates a community of makers and encourages young minds to think outside the box.
Andrea L. Medina is the director of grants and outreach for the School of Natural Sciences, Mathematics, and Engineering at CSUB. Read how she’s helped provide the community with new opportunities to innovate and explore technology through the Fab Lab.
Here is her story…
I’m not originally from Bakersfield, but it is now my home. As a military brat and spouse, I’ve lived in Europe, the Middle East, and all over the United States. There is not one place I have lived that has such a strong sense of community as Bakersfield. Bakersfield is so invested in the success of its own, and that is so inspiring. Even though my husband and I are not from Bakersfield, we chose to stay here because of the opportunities this community has provided for our family. One of those opportunities is in the field of science and technology.
As an administrator of Fab Lab, I’ve been able to see first-hand how an innovative space can benefit the community. The Fab Lab is located at CSUB and gives access to state-of-the-art technology like 3D printers, CNC routers, laser cutters, and more. Touted as a place where you can build (almost) anything, it allows you to explore your imagination to its fullest. The Fab Lab at CSUB is part of the worldwide network. We are the only one within the entire CSU and UC system, the only one in the nation that is open to the public, free of charge, and the only one within a 100-mile radius of Bakersfield.
We’ve been able to provide access to technology that has historically never been available to the general public. We have provided tours and activities in partnership with the Girl Scouts, Boys and Girls Club, Bakersfield Police Activities League, and K-12 students and teachers. Through our outreach activities, we are hopeful that we are inspiring future Roadrunners to pursue a STEM career.
We also have events that we encourage the community to take part in. Our annual Rowdy Cart Race is happening on Saturday, April 27th. So far we have 25 teams registered, including 3 high school teams, to compete on our themed obstacle course with human-powered vehicles they build themselves. It’s based on a popular video game, so we think the community is going to be really excited about it!
We are also excited to announce our summer camp schedule for the Fab Lab! Kids as young as 10 can register for one of our camps, which include making your own quadcopter, echolocation device, thermal imaging camera, and more. This is a great way to get kids excited about digital fabrication.
There has been a strong need for a program like Fab Lab in Bakersfield. The CSUB Engineering degrees have received ABET accreditation, and we are a desirable option to meet the region’s demand for a qualified workforce. Providing access to state-of-the-art technology allows our current students the hands-on experience needed for today’s economy.
I think Bakersfield is underestimated by the rest of the state. We don’t get the exposure for the amazing things we do like Fab Lab and many other programs. People I speak with who are new to Bakersfield consistently comment on the sense of community they feel here, and I think that is a testament to who we truly are.
The main reason Fab Lab even exists in Bakersfield is because of the supportive community. It is largely funded through grants and donations, and we are always grateful for public financial support. We also rely on enthusiastic Fab Lab users to get the word out about this wonderful Bakersfield resource, and we encourage all community members to visit during our regular open hours.
The next CSUB building project will be the Energy & Engineering Innovation Center. In addition to taking CSUB’s engineering programs to the next level, this building will enable us to more than double the size of the Fab Lab, and we look to the community for support for this exciting project.