Exploring the role of the UC Makerspace prototyping technician
Inspiring creators from vision to reality
Meet Gabrielle Stichweh, one of the creative powerhouses behind the University of Cincinnati Groundfloor Makerspace.
Stichweh graduated from UC in 2020 with a Bachelor of Science in industrial design, where she participated in a co-op program in the Makerspace. She is currently pursuing two master's degrees from the UC College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning (DAAP) in art education and fine arts.
"When co-oping in the Makerspace, I was, for the first time, exposed to the value of understanding manufacturing and making methods to my design and artistic practice. This was incredibly valuable, especially now as my current workplace, showing me the way the systems here work and giving me insightful background knowledge on the various technologies we work with," Stichweh said.
The Makerspace is not confined to academia; on the contrary, it welcomes personal projects from the community with open arms.
Gabrielle Stichweh Prototyping technician, UC Makerspace, 1819 Innovation Hub
As a full-time prototyping technician, Stichweh matches individuals with the appropriate tools and resources to bring their visions to life. In a rapidly evolving world of manufacturing technologies, she strives to stay ahead of the curve, constantly seeking out and integrating the latest advancements to keep the Makerspace at the forefront of creativity and ingenuity.
One of the most challenging parts of her role is also one of her favorites.
"Anything that we work with manufacturing-wise, such as 3D printing, laser cutting, even things as simple as textile work, there are all sorts of new technologies and new strategies that come out every single year, and so I enjoy learning about those, but it's a challenge of this role in making sure I remain current," Stichweh said.
Stichweh is dedicated to breaking the misconception surrounding the Makerspace — that it solely caters to school or university-related projects.
"The Makerspace is not confined to academia; on the contrary, it welcomes personal projects from the community with open arms," said Stichweh, who hopes that this understanding invites a diverse array of creators to participate in the Makerspace's collaborative and supportive environment.
Community members can sign up to earn various tool certifications, build projects and more in the Makerspace. Stichweh oversees the excitement of innovation unfolding and is grateful to observe an array of imaginative undertakings by students and hobbyists. From crafting furniture for personal spaces to pursuing capstone projects, she feels deeply satisfied in helping individuals transform their ideas into tangible items.
A fun fact: Stichweh maintains her own textile studio in Camp Washington, Ohio.
"I have a creative practice in addition to my technical practice here at UC. Learning how to integrate things like 3D printing and laser cutting into my quilting practice has been so exciting," Stichweh said. “I'm currently working on adapting my quilt rack into a CNC-controlled one so that I can use it manually and with computer designs. It's really changed the type of work that I do."
Stichweh believes that innovation knows no bounds within the vibrant community of inventors and makers.
Featured image at top: Gabrielle Stichweh inside the UC Groundfloor Makerspace. Photo/Greg Glevicky
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