Priorities:University of Puerto Rico - Mayaguez Student Priorities
- 1 Overview:
- 2 Student Projects:
- 2.1 2018 Cohort
- 2.2 2017 Cohort
- 3 Related links:
In the year 2015, six students from the UPRM were chosen to become University Innovation Fellows. Together, they composed the first generation of Mayaguez Fellows. In 2017, a new generation rose. Facing all the hardships that the year 2017 brought upon them, they did not give up on their quest of becoming agents of change. No Huelga or Huracan stopped them, and together they worked on projects they knew would not only help their university rise up again, but also their Puerto Rico.
Currently undergoing UIF candidacy training, 4 students chosen among current leaders of the UPRM's I&E Ecosystem are giving it their all to achieve a significant impact in the current I&E Landscape of their university.
Ashley Del Valle - WondeRum
WondeRUM, an event organized by WearTech, will be an Art & Engineering art exhibit which will display innovative art pieces. Most parts of the exhibition will use LEDs, neon paint and black lights. We also have interactive murals and moving sculptures among other interesting art pieces. The exhibition was inspired by several museums , wanting to create the same atmosphere of wonder and excitement as they have created. We want to show our visitors how by merging art and engineering an environment can be transformed into a place of wonder in which creativity runs free.
The goal is to establish a collaborative network in which people passionate with art and engineering can collaborate, learn from each other and generate creative ideas. We already count with a great team of artists, programmers, graphic designers, engineers among other talented students. Also, several professors serve as mentors for this project. In order for this strategy to be successful, a full collaboration between students, profess, rs and faculty must be achieved. The intent is to make this exhibition as interactive as possible. The reason why a theme of espionage will be set in the exhibition, like an escape room, clues will be hidden in the art pieces. We want the game to be in augmented reality, having several levels of difficulty, according to the clues they find. This exhibit will link to a series of educational workshops provided by Wear-Tech, Visionary and Empower3D, programs from the UPRM Makerspace and the student association Idea Platform. These workshops are open to all the student community, including the K-12 community. Allowing them to interact hands-on with amazing non-conventional technology like conductive thread, conductive fabric, Arduino, flexible LED wires and more. Moreover, a website will be developed to keep promoting the exhibit and teach about the techniques and technology used behind each piece. We will create several platforms, excellent to educate the community about emerging technology like virtual reality.
 Dykema, Magann, and Laurie Moore. “Home.” University Innovation Fellows, Uifellows Http://Uifellows.wpengine.com/Wp-Content/Uploads/2015/05/Logo.png, 16 July 2018, universityinnovationfellows.org/.
 “Digital Experiences | ARTECHOUSE | Albuquerque, NM.” Digital Experiences | ARTECHOUSE | Albuquerque, NM, www.albuquerque.artechouse.com/.
 “Immersive Experiences.” Meow Wolf, meowwolf.com/.
 “The Tech.” The Tech, www.thetech.org/.
Felipe Alfonzo -Innovation Pipeline: adaptable community-based commercialization method
The problem is that the innovation pipeline in Idea Platform is not being accomplished due to:
- Ideas that arrive at Achieve for incubation, in their majority, are not innovation based or mature enough.
- The communities or tribes, as we call them at Idea Platform, that focus on developing technical skills are not producing innovation projects.
Cause of Problem: Hypothesis
Students do not know industries sufficiently in-depth to identify problems or the pains experienced by people involved in the industry and therefore do not know of potential opportunities.
Alter dynamic in Idea platform creating new communities and events that focus on developing students interested in certain innovative industries.
Tribes that will be developed:
PCA - Community focused on innovating in the cosmetics industry.
BioX - Community focused on innovating in the bioengineering industry.
UPRM Fintech - Community focused on innovating in the financial industry.
My role as actual president of Idea Platform puts me in a unique position to help grow these "industry disruption" tribes or "InDi tribes" and to help foster a symbiotic relation between these and the technical tribes. For example, students may join the BioX Tribe and find that they wish to have a stronger technical base on prototyping, so they might attend workshops by the Empower3D tribe on 3D printing and Arduino.
Additionally, from helping develop the PCA tribe and the BioX tribe I'm also proposing to personally develop the UPRM Fintech tribe over the course of the 2018-2019 academic year.
Again, the goal of this change is to nurture the development of more mature and innovation based ideas.
Anibal Betancourt - Empower3D : Project Development & The Maker Community
Development of a program(Empower3D) meant to develop and support a MakerCommunity inside the UPRM MakerSpace as a way to bring students new learning experiences and enhance the MakerSpaces culture and network.
Empower3D Main goal is to be the perfect combination of learning and creativity, where the program will teach the individuals the tools and the methods of the Maker Movement but allow them to use them at their will and impose their creativity, as the maker movement does. UPRM has an amazing potential to grow a maker community since it has a varied offering of degrees, from STEM to arts to business administration. Empower3D will allow this diverse community to have a way to learn outside their classes and at their own pace, further enhancing what the university curriculum offers. But the most important aspect about Empower3D is that community will be founded and maintained, this community approach will create a network of individuals with the same goal but different point of views and skills.
Empower3D is a vital addition to the UPRM ecosystem because of how the current curriculum for bachelors limits students from learning about some topics because of their choice of studies, Empower3D is here to establish interdisciplinary collaborations as well as teach about technology and techniques not found anywhere else but vital to project/idea development, enabling students to develop themselves and their ideas outside the curriculum timeline.
Lianne Vega - Achieve
Ever since arriving at the university, Lianne has had crazy ideas about solving different problems and creating startups, but she struggled to find the tools that she needed. She noticed that many other students experienced this as well, and decided to enhance the startup program offered by Idea Platform by bringing external startup leaders who can serve as mentors. Having these mentors, students can obtain the tools they need to innovate while connecting them to external startups who can be potential partners, and help them grow their ideas.
Currently, Lianne leads multidisciplinary teams at her startup, where she makes different backgrounds come together to provide teachers with the most innovative approaches to teaching.
Alex Herrero- Visionary
Visionary is the Virtual Reality technology learning program at UPRM which aims to introduce students to VR/AR/MR and other immersive media technology and enable them to develop their own projects and startups. It was founded a year ago by Alex after he incubated the idea at Idea Platform (IP). With the help of IP, Alex pitched Visionary at Facebook representatives, which in turn got him in contact with Oculus. Oculus provided Visionary with 2 Oculus Rift VR headsets and $5,000 to use to buy the hardware needed to run them. Visionary started strong, but soon the year 2017 happened. After a series of strikes and hurricanes, Visionary is starting up again.
Alex's goal is for Visionary to become a self-sufficient tribe of Idea Platform so that even when he leaves UPRM, Visionary may continue to run. To do this, the Fellow has put together a motivated team of enablers and is working alongside other established tribes of IP so that Visionary is able to lift off. In order to do this, a base curriculum will be established as well as a VR license or certificate which will allow the student participating in the program to use the computers and headsets at their own time. To obtain the certificate the participant must demonstrate adequate capability to work with virtual reality software and hardware. During the first half of the semester, the participant will be enabled to use the software and hardware through workshops lead by the Visionary team. For the second part of the semester, the participants will be empowered to define their own project, create a team, and implement it. They would present it to the IP and external community as if it were a pitch, where their projects could be considered as the first step towards starting a startup. Visionary is meant to be a fun way to learn a new technology, not a class, so along the semester, there will be various activities that will keep it interesting, such as challenges, hackathons, guest speakers, game nights and much more.
Visionary is important to Mayaguez and Puerto Rico because it is not afraid to work with and empower others with brand new technologies. Visionary hosted the first ever VR Hackathon in Puerto Rico causing a huge wave that was felt across the island. People that had never coded or touched a VR headset were able to create a VR experience in less than 12 hours. VR/AR/MR are very versatile tools that have an overwhelming amount of applications. To take advantage of the technology and ride the wave, one must be Visionary!
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Alejandro Aponte - The UPRM MakerSpace: E.P.I.C-Labs (Entrepreneurship, Prototyping and Innovation Community Laboratories)
If we take a moment to stand in the middle of the educational process of a student these days and we dive into the core of the student experience we would see that there is a profound interest in the development and inclusion of learning elements that are personalized. Educational Elements that are developed depending on the students’ needs and educational interests. This interest has become a movement, a strong movement that is revolutionizing the way schools and universities are looking at their curriculums and courses. Within this great and inspiring Movement makerspace have become a crucial and key piece within the playing board.
Makerspaces are redefining education in unimaginable ways. They are becoming a keystone for the innovation and entrepreneurship communities within schools and universities. As expressed in article from The Education Partners, makerspaces can be defined as, “a physical location where people gather to share resources and knowledge, work on projects, network and build. Makerspaces provide tools and space in a community environment. Makerspaces are an ideal learning environment to imagine, design, prototype, create and iterate in hands-on, project-based learning environments” (Beidelman, 2018).
Within the previous definition we can see that makerspaces are directly related to team work, resources and knowledge sharing and learning environment. This shows us the major role the community plays within the functionality of a makerspace.
“The maker movement in education is built upon the foundation of constructionism, which is the philosophy of hands-on learning through building things. Constructionism, in turn, is the application of constructivist learning principles to a hands-on learning environment.” (Kurdyla, 2018)
Makerspace have become a great opportunity for students to take a little more control over their educational paths. To identify their individual passions and share them with others to connect and find collective passions that can transform into smaller communities within the makerspace environment based on similar interests. The impact of a student in the life of a student is amazing and it can “also empower students, helping them to shift from being passive consumers of information and products to active creators and innovators” ("Makerspaces: the Benefits", 2018).
It is because of all these great benefits and positive impact on the student community that Alejandro chose to work with its university makerspace. As a student community leader, maker and now as an UIF University Fellow Alejandro’s project focuses on taking the newborn makerspace of the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagûez Campus to next level.
Right now, the university makerspace, its still starting to form and expand to the needs of its growing student’s community. As of now it consists mainly of different work areas for students to go and collaborate with other colleagues for projects, equipment to give presentations and workshops, Arduinos and basic Arduino related electronics/tools and 3D printers. Even though the makerspace it is still on its developing phase and the small equipment list, the makerspace space has been a huge gamechanger for a lot of students. As a part of an initiative that targets student lead innovation and entrepreneurship the Business Center of the university of stablished a collaboration with a student association called Idea Platform to operate and run the makerspace. This association has been the centerfold of the student community and has promoted the growth and diversity within the day to day of the makerspace activities.
Alejandro’s project its focused on leading the Makerspace Administration Office team within the Idea Platform student organization to develop and construct the first fabrication and prototyping laboratory of the university developed and operated by students. This initiative was born from the needs of the student to have free access no only to tools and equipment that can help them develop their own ideas and products but to also receive mentorship and guidance on their educational or entrepreneurial journey. Starting by the room requested to the university construct the equipment room all the way to the cleaning and construction efforts and the creations of funding proposals most of the work has been made possible thanks to the immense effort and compromise of the student community. In addition to the fabrication equipment and taking advantage of the facilities acquired a collaboration was also stablished with the other UIF Fellow Alex Herrero and its initiative Visionary to create the first student run VR/AR/MR Laboratory as part of the makerspace
Alejandro’s work vision is to continue promoting the student enthusiasm and motivation and guide it to not only develop the new areas of work within the makerspace, but more importantly to show that a group of motivated and perseverant student can actually help build the university of tomorrow. His hopes are that this will transform into a program where students are trained as community leaders within the campus where they will be able to identify misused spaces with great potential and transform them into signature makerspaces focused on different areas of high impact (agriculture, art, educational pedagogy, other areas of STEM, etc) which will help the innovation and entrepreneurship in our community grow and help students in ways never imagined.
<span style="font-size:medium;"</span>Beidelman, J. (2018). Makerspaces Are Changing Education. Blog.theeducationpartners.com. Retrieved 7 January 2018, from http://blog.theeducationpartners.com/makerspaces-are-changing-education
Makerspaces: the Benefits. (2018). curiositycommons. Retrieved 12 January 2018, from https://curiositycommons.wordpress.com/makerspaces-the-benefits/
Kurdyla, E. (2018). EDUCATIONAL MAKERSPACES | Teacher Librarian. Teacherlibrarian.com. Retrieved 8 January 2018, from http://teacherlibrarian.com/2014/06/18/educational-makerspaces
Jaran Arroyo- Elicit
When you hear the word Elicit, you get all those neurons in your brain activated, you get a jolt of energy, even of inspiration. Feeling all those things from a single word. The creativity that emerges from the word “Elicit” entices even the ones that argue to be the least creative. For me Elicit should mean everything, it should be the beginning and the end. It should be the start and finish. Everything, is an understatement for the principles I want to establish.
A little history about Elicit, it all starts from the inception of the revolutionary student organization Idea Platform, (a product from a UIF Fellow) Elicit was the first tribe ever founded. It was the melting pot of everything revolutionary at the moment on campus. That grew into becoming the biggest tribe of the organization, with skills ranging from storytelling and filmmaking to coding and writing. Our people were the most diverse of them all. We had students from every single faculty on campus, it was fantastic. Fast tracking to the present, we’re currently pivoting our mission and vision. I feel that Elicit has lost the spark that once influenced. Jaran’s mission, my mission is to acquire as much knowledge from the UIF Network so I can inject that passion and enthusiasm again.
My mission as a Fellow is to find the tools needed for me to develop the best place for interdisciplinary students to be. I want to create a place where engineers can work on art, business people make things from scratch and science people could develop their artistic abilities. We are in 2018, the time for humans to have just one interest, is a thing of the past. This new dawn of hybrid disciplines is what has brought arguably, the best and brightest innovations this world has ever seen. Steve Jobs is just an example of the hundreds from these hybrids, him personally mixing Electrical Engineering with Marketing and Design, allowed the creation of arguably the biggest and most consumer innovative company, ever. Elicit should be our campus’ most innovative place with the most diverse people. I am determined to make this ideal happen.
Rolando Cruz- AgroSolución
With the passage of Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico's agriculture was completely destroyed, leaving losses of $780 millions and there are forecasts of not being able to produce food for a year or longer. Puerto Rico needs to know more efficient ways to manage information, resources, establish viable public policies and mainly encourage the local economy to get out of this situation as soon as possible. Quite possibly students have the conditions and knowledge necessary to solve many of these problems. This is why as a student I think that the best way to demonstrate that we have the potential to have an impact in the country, we must change our University and in this way begin the change and transformation by ourselves.
In our university there are situations that although complicated, uniting university students and professors with high level skills and knowledge, we can solve and improve. Such as aspects of internal public policy, recycling, methods for the food sustainability of the Campus, alternative of renewable energy and promote the local economy through entrepreneurship and innovation of university staff (non-teaching staff, teachers and students).
For this it is necessary to create a multidisciplinary group of students and professors able to devise and conceptualize viable solutions and to join efforts with the rest of the university bodies to make these new ways of working a reality. AgroSolución, a body of students representing the diversity of thoughts, philosophies and ways of working, who concretize situations that are bad or can improve in our Campus and through sustainable policies based on the sovereignty of educational mutualism, innovation and collective entrepreneurship, we will achieve more sustainable venue and able to demonstrate the potential of university staff.
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