people and community FAMU fab lab to foster creativity, innovation in tallahassee
2 min read | may 18, 2023
In December 2022, Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) joined the growing list of U.S. colleges boasting on-campus, Chevron-sponsored fabrication laboratories focused on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) innovation.
“This is the first Fab Lab that Chevron has sponsored at a Historically Black College and University,” said Karen Rawls, Chevron senior social investment advisor. “Our goal is to create a community of learning and maker space for innovation and collaboration in Tallahassee, Florida.”
This partnership also supports our overall $15 million racial equity initiative.
what it is
Fab Foundation Fab Labs are designed to stimulate innovation, learning and invention by providing a space for people to play, create, learn and develop.
The laboratories boast an arsenal of digital fabrication tools and prototyping devices, including laser cutters, 3D printers, vinyl cutters, milling machines and more.
why it matters
“The beautiful thing here is that young people are learning STEM without even realizing it because they’re having so much fun,” Rawls said with a laugh. “The Fab Foundation is all about sparking creativity.”
With FAMU’s Fab Lab, we aim to foster an appreciation and knowledge of STEM-related disciplines while providing students with the skills and confidence to pursue future studies in these fields.
“It’s good for the economy too,” Rawls added. “We hire people to work in the lab, and we hire interns during the summer.”
At Chevron, we believe that education is a critical pathway to achieving social equality and enabling human progress. But access to resources can be limited—sometimes along racial lines. These constraints widen inequalities and needlessly restrict potential.
Chevron contributed $550,000 to FAMU’s Fab Lab for equipment and staffing. Another $150,000 was provided by the Fab Foundation for Fab Lab creation, management approaches, curriculum, research activities and renovations.
Chevron has partnered with the Fab Foundation since 2014.“Since 2016, we’ve invested more than $700,000 with FAMU,” Rawls said. “And it’s not just for the university; it’s also for K–12 educators, who can learn how to use 3D printers and laser cutters and take that knowledge back to their classrooms.”
In February, we announced the first recipients of the Chevron Fab STEM Fellowship, a new program supporting STEM educators around the globe.
The fellowship awards a stipend of $10,000 to each selected educator to use toward creating and disseminating new, inclusive practices around STEM education.
Chevron-sponsored Fab Labs are also located in Bakersfield, Richmond and Santa Clara, California; Pittsburgh and Grindstone, Pennsylvania; New Orleans, Louisiana; Odessa, Texas, and Washington, D.C.
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