Elon represented at White House meeting during National Week of Making

Michael Vaughn, an instructional technologist at Elon, was one of dozens of representatives from universities and colleges who gathered in June to share practices and further expand work connecting students and communities around the country to the maker movement.

Elon Instructional Technologist Michael Vaughn
By Madison MacKenzie ’18

Instructional Technologist Michael Vaughn attended a meeting organized by the White House Science and Technology Policy Office in June to discuss how to better integrate maker hubs in communities and universities around the coutnry.

Vaughn, who together with Instructional Technologist Dan Reis oversees operations at Elon’s Maker Hub, holds a regional leadership position with Make Schools Alliance, a group of 48 universities and colleges nationwide that are working towards increasing the number of maker spaces in schools. He represented the group at the meeting, which was held at the White House. “I think it was telling that the meeting started off with a representative from the office of Science and Technology Policy talking about why the White House believes there is so much value in making and maker spaces,” Vaughn said.  

The Obama Administration declared June 17-23 to be National Week of Making. The week coincided with the National Maker Faire in Washington, D.C., and included new policy changes for the maker community and several development meetings on how to make the maker community more influential. 

During the meeting, White House representatives explored the educational and economic benefits of maker spaces. Vaughn presented alongside other school representatives on their personal experiences of constructing such spaces on a college campus. Elon’s Maker Hub opened in fall 2015. Vaughn also attended a breakout session that discussed how to create diverse and inclusive spaces on college campuses. 

“That’s a priority for us this year,” he said. “We are trying to make it a really welcoming place for everyone in the campus community, regardless of who they are or their self-identified skill level. For us this is an educational philosophy, something that will have a meaningful educational benefit.”

Located on the first floor of Harper Hall in the Colonnades Neighborhood, Elon’s Maker Hub features self-contained modules in five areas—3-D printing and design, mobile programming, electronics, e-textiles and microcomputing. “The Maker Hub gives users the access to the tools, supplies and knowledge they need to pursue a topic,” says Vaughn. “We are trying to create a space where students can pursue an idea they are genuinely interested in.”