April, 2015
Network Notes
MakerLab Committee Update
The committee reviewed the first submissions in the SouthWorks MakerLab Logo Contest held by University of St.Francis. The committee chose a winner and asked for some modifications. A final version will be chosen from the several variations. The winner will receive a $200 prize from USF.

SMHEC is partnering with spaceLab, a membership makerspace in Mokena, to create the 2nd Annual Chicago Southland MakerFaire on August 22nd. 

IIT is offering several workshops and seminars this summer that are relevant to MakerLab administrators and operators. 

In concert with Prairie State College and the Illinois Small Business Development Center at Governors State University, the SouthWorks MakerLab at Park Forest will hold a Makers' Boot Camp this summer as an introduction to the Maker Pro Entrepreneurship program it will also begin some time this summer.

Several high school faculty workshops will be offered this summer to finalize the MakerLab Workshop that IIT's IPRO team has developed for our MakerLabs. The workshops will familiarize faculty with the tools in a MakerLab and provide examples of MakerLab projects that they can use to enhance their classes. Locations and dates will be determined.

New SouthWorks Logo Designed Through University of St. Francis Student Contest


Thanks to Art & Design students at University of St. Francis, the MakerLab network has a logo. Nearly twenty student groups worked with Professors Paul Erschen and Michael Costello to develop potential logos. Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, Dr. Bob Kase, provided a $200 prize to Sara Braden, the designer of the winning logo chosen by the SMHEC MakerLab Committee.  


SouthWorks MakerLab Network Brochure Available

Thanks to Prairie State College for developing a brochure for the SouthWorks MakerLab Network. The brochure is designed to be used by all network members for informational and fundraising purposes. It was created to allow modifications, such as individualized letters on page 3. Please contact Don Brozek if you would like the raw, modifiable files.


Generic version        

Education version


Dale Dougherty, Maker Movement Evangelist, Speaks at University of St. Francis 

On March 24th, USF's College of Business 

& Health Administration's Business Incubator hosted Dale Dougherty, the creator of Make Magazine
 and the MakerFaire concept, and a primary evangelist for the Maker Movement, for a free, public presentation. 

Over 100 students and community members heard Dougherty speak about the Maker Movement and describe what it means to be a "Maker". He spoke about the whimsical, artistics endeavors being done by Makers, as well as the practical, commercial businesses that makers are launching. 


Olivet Nazarene University Screens Maker: The Movie
On April 20th, together  with local partners and SMHEC,  Olivet Nazarene University hosted a screening of Maker: The Movie at its Reed Hall of Science Engineering Center. Enterprise U and Economic Alliance of Kankakee County also participated in the event. Students and community members, some of whom are entrepreneurs, learned of the educational, artistic, and economic benefits of the Maker Movement. Overwhelmingly, attendees were excited about the prospects of a Makerspace in their community and discussed opportunities for additional outreach events. Afterward, several attendess toured Olivet's prototyping and engineering labs.
University of St. Francis Dedicates Robert W. Plaster Free Enterprise Center

The University of St. Francis (USF) dedicated the Robert W. Plaster Free Enterprise Center in downtown Joliet on April 6.


The former theater building, donated by BMO Harris Bank and substantially renovated by USF, is named in honor of the late philanthropist and entrepreneur, Robert W. Plaster, who sought to promote free enterprise through the support of higher education. 


USF recently established a chapter of ENACTUS (formerly Students in Free Enterprise), a worldwide network of students, academic professionals, and industry leaders dedicated to using the power of entrepreneurial action to transform lives and shape a better more sustainable world. Mr. Plaster was co-founder of the organization.

Read More

SMHEC Participates in 2015 Chicagoland Maker Summit 

The Chicago Public Library's MakerLab hosted their 2nd Annual Maker Summit on March 31st at the Harold Washington Library. Library, school, community, and membership- based makerspaces were represented. Over 70 representatives of the local maker community shared accomplishments and resources and discussed issues relevant to building and strengthening the community. In particular, breakout groups discussed engagement strategies, shared values, and successful teaching methods. 


Of note, the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh recently released The Learning Practices of Making: An Evolving Framework for Design, of interest to schools, museums, and libraries. In addition, the library will soon post the IMLS Maker Lab White Paper to its website.


SouthWorks MakerLab at Park Forest Hosts First Two Maker Classes

The SouthWorks MakerLab hosted by the Village of Park Forest recently held two Maker classes. 

On Saturday, April 11, the MakerLab offered an Introduction to Arduino class. Arduinos are inexpensive, easy-to-use open source micro-processors that are extremely popular for maker projects from robots and drones to garage door openers. Participants received an Arduino starter kit and learned basic programming. 

On Saturday, April 18, participants in the Introduction to 3-D Printing class learned about the technologies and materials of 3-D printing and used the MakerLab's Mojo and MakerBot printers to print their designs. Additional classes will be offered over the summer.  

IIT IPRO Team Develops Workshop for High School Faculty

The SMHEC-sponsored IPRO Team participated in IIT's IPRO Day, April 24th. 

The student team developed a Maker Workshop for us to offer to high school faculty in the region. The workshop's purpose is to help the teachers to incorporate the use of MakerLabs into their classes.

This summer, SMHEC plans to  run several pilot workshops.

Video and Flyer
USFabLab Symposium Notes


Several members of the SMHEC MakerLab commitee attended the US FabLab Network Sysmposium on March 23-25, hosted by Gateway Technical College in Racine, WI.


The symposium offered sessions on lab startup, leveraging FabLabs for entreprenuership, incorporating the labs into educational programming, and financial sustainability strategies.  Rep. Bill Foster, a long-time supporter of MakerLabs, and Dr. Neil Gershenfeld, the MIT professor whose worked spawned the FabLab network, gave keynote presentations. At a similar event last summer, they were excited to announce that 140 FabLabs existed worldwide. At this recent event, Dr. Gershenfeld noted that 500 FabLabs are currently operating. 


The nearly 80 participants, the majority representing higher education institutions, learned much from the operators of established FabLabs who also attended and shared their experience. A variety of equipment vendors and consultants participated and provided useful information. Notable were Intelitek, an educational programming and equipment vendor, and School Factory, a consulting firm that has helped establish over 140 makespaces over the past 14 years.


Upcoming Events
SouthWorks MakerLab in Park Forest Grand Opening, May 6


The SouthWorks MakerLab at Park Forest will have its Grand Opening on Wednesday, May 6th. A public screening of Maker: The Movie will open the event at 5:30pm. Keynotes speakers include U.S. Representative Robin Kelly, Park Forest Mayor John Ostenburg, Bo Steiner, District Director of the SBA, and Prairie State College's Craig Schmidt. Afterward, tours and activities will take place at the MakerLab.

Maker Pro Entrepreneurship Seminar
On June 3rd and 4th, a Maker Pro "Train the Trainer" workshop will be held at SouthWorks MakerLab- Park Forest. The workshop will provide the details of a DOL-certified apprenticeship program. At this workshop, SouthWorks MakerLab Network members can learn how to deliver the Maker Pro program. Contact Mollie Dowling for more information.
SMHEC and Calumet Area Industrial Council Event at IIT

SMHEC and Calumet Area Industrial Council (CAIC) have partnered with IIT to host a discussion of innovation and the SouthWorks MakerLab Network on June 25th at IIT's Technology Center. The event is open to the public.

More Info and Registration

IIT User-Design Camp

On May 15th and June 11th, IIT is offering a User-Centered Design Camp that is open to SMHEC members. The camp will provide a one-day immersion in the principles and methods associated with user-centered design thinking - one of the primary tools used in IIT's IPRO program.

Please contact Don Brozek or Tom Jacobuis to register

More info