A sign of student-faculty collaboration

Tree ring lab sign
Tree ring lab sign

The Radford University Tree Ring Lab needed a new sign. Enter Nick Francis, a freshman from Troutville, Virginia. Working with his research mentor Dr. Stockton Maxwell, he created a unique and clever door plaque using the MakerSpace in Peery Hall.

Francis is a geospatial science student who is also part of the Community of Makers, housed in Peery Hall. This living-learning community is designed for students who learn best by doing and are eager to experiment, innovate and create. It provides access to collaborative do-it-yourself or DIY spaces to imagine, design and build solutions that improve daily life. Paired with close faculty relationships, peer mentors, and experiential programming, students master practical skills while developing confidence in a safe and supportive environment.

“The project came up in a lab meeting. Dr. Maxwell mentioned wanting a lab sign made out of wood…I mentioned the laser engraver in the MakerSpace,” Francis said. “Dr. Maxwell sent me the design and I used the laser engraver to burn the wood to create letters and texture.”

“I enjoy working with any sort of fabrication equipment and tools,” Francis continued. “Hand tools all the way up through the more advanced equipment like 3-D printers and the laser engraver. I enjoy using the MakerSpace.”

Both agreed this project is a good example of the close working relationships faculty and students enjoy at Radford University.

“Nick is an excited and engaged student,” Maxwell said. “This is a great example of faculty and student collaboration.”

“Dr. Maxwell and I were looking to improve on the quality of the lab sign,” Francis said. “He had an idea and I added to it. After coming up with some possible solutions, we were able to make the idea become reality through the use of on-campus resources.”

Through living-learning communities, such as the Community of Makers, student and faculty interactions are fostered to continually improve the student experience and help develop a pursuit of life-long learning.

Feb 19, 2019
Sherry Wallace