A&M-Corpus Christi I-Create MakerSpace Brings Ideas to Life

By Luisa Buttler, Published: February 07, 2019

A&M-Corpus Christi I-Create MakerSpace Brings Ideas to Life

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – It’s physical technology, natural technology, low tech, and high tech – it runs the whole gambit. The new I-Create MakerSpace at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi gives Islanders and the community access to limitless potential for innovation and imagination. Located on the second floor of the Mary and Jeff Bell Library, I-Create offers a wide variety of machines and technology not formerly available in one space at a free or greatly reduced cost.

“The I-Create lab lets users play and explore and realize some things they might not even know are possibilities,” said Dr. Cate Rudowsky, dean of libraries at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. “It takes people out of their comfort zone, in a good way. For students, it provides an extension of academic learning that happens organically and provides engagement extending beyond the traditional classroom setting.”

Makerspaces are an increasing trend across the United States. Based on collaborative creation, these spaces provide access to various tools to pursue any passion or curiosity. The Island University’s makerspace, in planning for over a year, endeavors to bring those possibilities to the Coastal Bend.

I-Create visitors can create a sculpture with a 3D printer, sew and embroider fabric, cut and engrave material using a laser cutter, explore digital worlds with a virtual reality headset, and much more. The space houses more than $100,000 in machinery and devices that many might never have access to otherwise.

“Are there 3D printers on campus? Yes, there are, but if you aren’t an engineering or art student, they may not be available to you,” said Sylvia Sanchez, I-Create MakerSpace coordinator. “This space, and the technology within, is available to all students regardless of what they’re studying. This is an interdisciplinary space where different majors can bring ideas to life.”

Along with the Corpus Christi community, local nonprofits and businesses are also invited to take advantage of I-Create’s offerings. Visitors are encouraged not to think of the space as a quiet place, as libraries are often categorized, and instead use it as a place to explore ideas and engage with others.

“Technology changes so quickly that unless you’re actively learning new things all the time you fall behind,” said Louis Katz, professor of ceramics at A&M-Corpus Christi, who is sharing his glaze mixing machine with the I-Create lab. “This space gives people the opportunity to learn how to use some of the latest equipment on the market. There’s no telling what people could to with the facilities here – it’s unlimited.”

I-Create hosted a three-day open house from Jan. 29-31, where visitors were treated to various workshops and demonstrations. Sanchez and Rudowsky are looking forward to expanding the offerings of the I-Create MakerSpace, with new pieces of equipment already identified for purchase.

“We hope to grow I-Create based on both campus and community needs,” said Rudowsky. “There are a lot of possibilities and this is just the beginning.”

The I-Create MakerSpace is free to use, though there is a nominal charge for supplies. Users are welcome to bring their own materials. The space is open Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sanchez and Rudowsky are hoping to add weekend hours at a later point.