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#BigBeacon Twitter Chat – Giving STEM Students Space to Innovate – February 25

In the last decade, the popularity of student maker and innovation spaces at colleges and universities has grown exponentially, especially among students majoring in STEM fields. These types of spaces are often used to supplement classroom-based courses or provide students with a place to work on projects that may not have a natural home in a research lab. Innovation spaces provide students and their peers an outlet for prototyping, collaboration across disciplines, and experiential learning.

In Epicenter’s two programs for faculty and students, participants evaluate their campus landscapes for opportunities to embed engineering education with entrepreneurial thinking, innovation, creativity and design thinking. For many of these participants, adding a student innovation space to their campus is a way to accomplish these goals.

Despite the stories of impact that we hear from faculty and students, there are many barriers to creating innovation spaces, including cost, lack of physical space on campus, and lack of support from administration. For students and faculty interested in creating such a space on campus, there are many questions to consider:

  • What is the value of an innovation space in STEM education, and how can this be communicated effectively to the campus community?
  • What is the relationship between innovation spaces and research labs?
  • How can we connect work that takes place in innovation spaces to classroom learning?
  • How can we use innovation spaces to better engage the surrounding university community?
  • How can innovation spaces extend beyond STEM students to encourage interdisciplinary collaboration?
  • In places where a permanent physical space does not exist, how can we replicate behaviors and learnings of an innovation space in other ways?

On Wednesday, February 25, at 8 p.m. ET, please join us for a conversation about Maker and Innovation Spaces for STEM Students. Hosts will be Laurie Moore, Communications Manager for Epicenter (tweeting @EpicenterUSA); Katie Dzugan, Associate for Epicenters University Innovation Fellows student program (tweeting @itsKDuke); and several students from the Fellows program.

About Epicenter

The National Center for Engineering Pathways to Innovation (Epicenter) is funded by the National Science Foundation and directed by Stanford University and VentureWell (formerly NCIIA). Epicenter’s mission is to empower U.S. undergraduate engineering students to bring their ideas to life for the benefit of our economy and society. To do this, Epicenter helps students combine their technical skills, their ability to develop innovative technologies that solve important problems, and an entrepreneurial mindset and skillset. Epicenter’s three core initiatives are the University Innovation Fellows program for undergraduate engineering students and their peers; the Pathways to Innovation Program for institutional teams of faculty and university leaders; and a research program that informs activities and contributes to national knowledge on entrepreneurship and engineering education. Learn more and get involved at

How to Twitter Chat
If you’ve never Twitter chatted before, don’t worry; it’s very easy! First, get a Twitter account if you don’t already have one, and log in. At 8 PM ET on Wednesday go to and type #BigBeacon into the search box on Twitter. Thereafter all the tweets with the hashtag #BigBeacon will show up on your Twitter page. To participate, simply express your opinion by sending a tweet, and be sure to append the hashtag #BigBeacon so other members of the Twitter Chat see you are posting. Alternatively, automate the hashtag search and append feature by using the free service Tchat at
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