Maker Space equipped by Bendix helps students engage in STEM

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ELYRIA, Ohio — Soaring drones. 3D printers. Laser cutters. These are the tools of future engineers, scientists, entrepreneurs and STEM scholars.

With help from Bendix, these tools are now in the hands of Elyria Catholic High School (ECHS) students in their new Maker Space.

Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems LLC, a North American provider in development and manufacture of active safety, air management, and braking system technologies for commercial vehicles, understands the importance of encouraging STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education and careers.

This fall, the company donated $12,500 to ECHS to equip a collaborative classroom for students to develop STEM-related technology and entrepreneurial skills.

“Education and STEM are key activities that Bendix supports, as we believe they are the foundation for self-sufficiency and align with who we are as a company – technology driven,” said Maria Gutierrez, Bendix’s director of corporate responsibility and sustainability. “I get particularly excited with maker spaces because that is the best way to learn and get kids excited – when they get to physically touch, experiment, and create. It’s like playing, but with the science behind it. To me, that is the root of innovation.”

The Elyria Catholic Maker Space includes two 3D printers, 10 drones, a tilting interactive board, a vinyl cutter, a laser cutter, an iPad kiosk, computers, and collaborative workplace furniture. These technologies will allow for new curricular opportunities and extracurricular activities to develop students’ skills. ECHS hopes this space will prepare more students for college and careers in STEM-related industries.

“The Maker Space at Elyria Catholic allows our engineering students to explore technologies and our business students to experience the entrepreneurial process,” said Michelle Hoffman, director of advancement at ECHS. “The Maker Space is truly inspiring our faculty and students to pursue more STEM projects in all of their classes.”

The Maker Space opened on October 14 at the school’s open house for prospective students. Students in business and entrepreneurship, engineering, and physics classes were the first to use the room, along with those participating in the Science Olympiad. The space has sparked so much interest that a team was created to compete in local drone competitions, and the school is considering forming a For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) Robotics team.

FIRST was founded in 1989 to inspire young people’s interest and participation in science and technology. Based in Manchester, New Hampshire, the 501(c)(3) not-for-profit public charity designs accessible, innovative programs that motivate young people to pursue education and career opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and math, while building self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills.

Sponsoring the Maker Space is part of Bendix’s ongoing commitment to support local education and STEM initiatives. In addition to Bendix, the Maker Space was made possible by Ridge Tool, a Catholic Community Foundation Rooted in Faith grant, and proceeds from Elyria Catholic High School’s 2018 Forward Gala.

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