Aggie Innovation Space integration to enhance education, research and outreach

Students in the College of Engineering have access to three distinct spaces that enable creative problem solving. The college is now planning to integrate them, increasing their capabilities and better serving the student population and the community.

At the Aggie Innovation Space, students and the community have access to experienced

mentors, new technologies, design software and tools. The Student Project Center is a fabrication lab where students build class projects. Our Manufacturing and Engineering Technology Center (MTec) provides engineering analysis and manufacturing support to entrepreneurs and businesses and also serves as a teaching lab.

“To meet complex engineering challenges, we plan to combine these three resources within a single physical space under the name Aggie Innovation Space with an improved synergy and significant expansion of the scope of services,” said College of Engineering Dean Lakshmi N. Reddi. “We are implementing this plan to facilitate the expansion and unification of these three fragmented, but successful, service centers. More important, our goal is to provide modernized equipment and expand access and opportunity to students, faculty and stakeholders to enhance the education of students, encourage more collaborative activities, and stimulate economic development.”

The new, integrated Aggie Innovation Space will house modern equipment in open work spaces with expanded capabilities to provide new opportunities for experiential learning and student engagement.

“This move coincides in timing with the development and implementation of new manufacturing and systems engineering educational programs at both undergraduate and graduate levels,” said Reddi. “These educational programs, along with new student-centric initiatives in the college, such as Learning Communities and college-wide capstone design projects based in industry partnerships, will uniquely leverage and modernize the new Aggie Innovation Space activities.”

Specific objectives of this initiative fall under the broad titles of education, research, and economic development.

Specifically, students use the center to complete class projects, capstone design projects and team

projects requiring experiential learning. They will be able to network with professors and regional entrepreneurs on collaborative projects and make connections between classroom knowledge, real-world challenges, and professional innovation. They will gain the technical and soft skills necessary to succeed as employees and entrepreneurs.

“The partnerships they develop with local and regional industries will encourage them to seek employment, and more importantly, to create employment, within New Mexico,” said Reddi.

Faculty members will use the Aggie Innovation Space Manufacturing facilities to develop cutting-edge and commercially viable research in advanced manufacturing, computer engineering and materials development, among other disciplines.

“Our vision is that faculty members will join students on a common platform and brainstorm ideas in a common workplace that facilitates creativity and entrepreneurial activity,” said Reddi.

Entrepreneurs working with the Arrowhead Center, an NMSU initiative that helps regional businesses develop into viable companies, will be able to bring their ideas to the AIS to connect with

researchers and students who can transform entrepreneurial ideas into reality. Together with

researchers and students, they can build and test their products and effectively contribute to economic development in the region and the state.

“As a land-grant institution, our main function is to serve the state of New Mexico. We have achieved this over the years with student success as our primary goal,” said Reddi.  The new Aggie Innovation Space will ensure that when they leave us, our graduates are ready not only for employment or furthering their education, but to provide leadership and service and contribute to the enhancement of human welfare.”


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