Free online workshop will focus on creativity in STEM

An upcoming workshop aimed at women and girls will explore science, technology engineering and mathematics (STEM) concepts through the popular Cricut cutting machine.

The free event will introduce participants to creative design and engineering using Cricut software to design art for stickers, signs, T-shirts and more.

Creativity of Design will take place online Wednesday, March 9 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. as part of National Engineering Month and in collaboration with the Brock University Library Makerspace and Women in STEM Experiences.

Although anyone is welcome to attend the workshop, its focus is to connect women and girls to STEM opportunities.

A smiling woman sits at a table with one hand on top of the other. In front of her on the table is a blue Cricut cutting machine and a pile of colourful papers.

Stephanie Thompson, engineer and founder of Women in STEM Experiences, will be co-leading a free online workshop on Wednesday, March 9 that will explore creative design and engineering using software for the popular Cricut cutting machine.

“So many people don’t realize how much STEM is already in the projects they do,” said Women in STEM Experiences founder Stephanie Thompson, who is also an engineer at General Motors and a member of Brock’s Board of Trustees. “Every sticker we’re going to make in vector has no difference in thought process than designing a part on a CNC (computer numerical control) machine. Hopefully this event can help women and girls build confidence in the STEM space and rethink doing something they thought was out of their reach.”

Brock Makerspace Co-ordinator Tabitha Lewis said many of the workshops the Makerspace leads, including the Creativity in Design event, are intentionally beginner-friendly to instill confidence and pride.

“People are often nervous and timid to use the Makerspace technology because they don’t think of themselves as being technical, but they end up having a lot of fun,” she said. “They leave smiling, having created something new while learning about design principles used in manufacturing.”

The Creativity in Design workshop will touch on ‘design thinking,’ which is an approach to problem solving. By the end of the workshop, participants will be equipped with the tools and knowledge to think strategically and innovatively while taking ideas through the design thinking process.

Joining Lewis and Thompson in leading the workshop will be representatives from Brock’s new Department of Engineering. Interim Chair and Professor Beatrice Ombuki-Berman and Associate Professor Shengrong Bu will each speak about their experiences as women in science while also sharing information about Brock’s new program in Integrated Engineering, which takes key concepts from traditional engineering fields, such as mechanical, civil and electrical, and brings them together into a single coherent program where students learn about each field and the connections between them.

The artistic designs participants create as part of the workshop can then be printed using a Cricut machine, which are available at schools, libraries and the Brock Makerspace. Participants are invited to make an in-person appointment with the Makerspace to use the Cricut machine. There are also plans for a follow-up workshop to take place at the Brock Makerspace, where participants will learn more about the Cricut machine and print out their designs.

To register for the Creativity in Design workshop, fill out an online form.

For more workshops related to art, design, creativity and engineering, visit the Brock Library Makerspace website and the National Engineering Month calendar of events.

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