Exploring “Makerspaces”

Engaged Cornell funds student’s project
Friday, April 8, 2016

An ILR doctoral student is among the first 10 recipients of Engaged Cornell graduate student grants.

The grants were announced by Vice Provost Judith Appleton this week.

Rohini Jalan M.S. ’15, Ph.D. ’17 is investigating “makerspaces” for their social, educational and economic impact, and the ways they establish and engage a community and facilitate entrepreneurship.

Typically incorporated as non-profits, these spaces seek to educate and empower people by providing access to tools and technology such as 3-D printers, laser cutters, sewing machines and lathes.

“These spaces exist to promote scientific, cultural and artistic advancement by encouraging technical and social collaboration, and creating a community,” she said.

Jalan researched a nonprofit hackerspace in Brooklyn and will pursue further ethnographic research at a similar nonprofit space in Buffalo, N.Y.

Working with the Partnership for the Public Good and Cornell’s High Road Fellowship program, one goal of the project is to “help the space understand how to increase community participation and create sustainable ties to individuals and organizations working to revitalize Buffalo,” Jalan said.