The Don Myers Technology and Innovation Building has been a long time coming. Rumors and excitement about the construction of the building have long since circulated across campus. At last, the day that students and faculty have been anxiously awaiting has arrived; the wait has been well worth it. The last touches are being added, equipment and supplies are being ordered, and professors are in the midst of moving their offices and labs. Come fall 2017, all the offices will be full, and the lecture halls, classrooms, and teaching labs will hold students eager to begin their courses in the brand new building.
The building is located on East Campus. It will be the home to the departments of physics, mathematics and statistics, and computer science, and sharing a single building will create an even stronger interdisciplinary community between these areas of research. In addition to faculty offices, classrooms, and teaching labs, the building will include the Kogod Center for Innovation, as well as a maker space lab called STEAMWORKS (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics). The Kogod Center for Innovation is a new effort to catalyze innovation activities on campus and give students tools and resources to develop the technology behind their business ideas. The maker space lab, modelled after the Maker Movement, will have equipment for building, fabricating, and designing, so that students can learn to fully utilize modern technology to create things for themselves. The lab will have a CNC milling machine, which can be programmed to cut things that are extremely customized. There will also be a laser cutter, 3D printers, and a wide range of other instruments, electronics, and microcontrollers. Philip Johnson, depart- ment chair of physics and the new College of Arts and Sciences associate dean of research, envisions this lab as a way to serve students and faculty from all areas of study to increase their level of creativity in anything that they want to do.
Working towards a STEM degree is no easy feat. The STEM students at AU are hard working and dedicated to learning in hopes of contribut- ing to their future fields, whatever they may be. Here at AU, we are surrounded by supportive and compassionate faculty, motivating peers, and ample opportunities for research positions and internships on campus and in the city. However, until now, the physics, mathematics and statistics, and computer science departments have been housed in the far corners of campus and even split up among multiple locations. This has made interdepartment communication and community building more of a challenge. The importance and value of this building to the current and future STEM students of AU cannot be overstated. This building is a sign of the university’s commitment to supporting the STEM students and departments. It is a great investment that will result in a tighter-knit community, a bigger campus-wide emphasis on science and technology, and state-of-the-art facilities for long-deserving students and faculty. Furthermore, this science and technology stronghold will make the resources and expertise of these departments easily accessible to students from every major. There is no limit to the innovative ideas and research that the Don Myers Technology and Innovation Building will foster this academic year and for years to come.