Careers & Student Outcomes

Women's MakerSpace Workshop Wins Student Award for Educational Impact

The program empowers students with the skills and confidence to excel in engineering, contributing to a more inclusive and equitable field

Walk by the ABS Engineering Center at Stevens and listen closely, and you may catch the sounds of creation, exploration and collaboration. Venture inside, and there you'll find the Stevens MakerCenter, a hub where students can freely use cutting-edge technologies and tools to conceptualize and build prototypes, explore personal interests, and collaborate on academic projects. What do the people who come to mind look like? To ensure that all genders are represented in this space for innovation, a team of students hosted the Women's MakerSpace Workshop this spring, winning the Stevens Student Award "Program of the Year for Educational Impact.”

The Stevens Student Award is an annual tradition recognizing distinguished students at Stevens Institute of Technology. In particular, the Program of the Year for Educational Impact award recognizes a creative program that promotes greater awareness of an existing academic, political or social issue through educational efforts that enhance student learning and provide a meaningful exchange of ideas.  

A photo of 5 young women standing together and holding an awardLeft to right: Natalie Anfuso '26, Jeylan Jubran '27, Tara Roach, Nataly Jimenez '25, and Alicia Kearney '26

Tara Roach, leadership and service coordinator in the Office of Student Life, presented the award to mechanical engineering major Natalie Anfuso ’26, computer science major Nataly Jimenez ’25, industrial and systems engineering major Jeylan Jubran ’27, and mechanical engineering major Alicia Kearney ’26.

“The Women’s MakerSpace Workshop initiative was entirely dreamt up, developed and facilitated by the young women who received the award, showcasing their leadership, creativity and dedication to empowering their peers,” said Dakota Van Deursen ’19, assistant director for core engineering and science education, who worked with the members of the program to coordinate and promote the workshops across campus.

Empowering women, encouraging curiosity

The Stevens MakerCenter offers equipment and resources, including 3D printing, quantum testing, machining, electronics, laser cutting, welding tools and more, so that all Stevens students can bring their ideas to life.

“These tools are for everyone. Every Stevens student deserves equal access to and knowledge of the tools available on campus, regardless of their gender identity,” said Kearney. “But there is a very noticeable difference in the number of women and nonbinary students who utilize the space.”

Jimenez agrees. “There is a significant disparity between the number of men and women who use the MakerSpace,” she said. “We aim to close that gap, one workshop at a time.” 

Female student wearing green shirt stands in front of a table that is printing out a plastic material in MakerSpaceAlexandra VanderVeer '26, Environmental Engineering

The workshops Jimenez referred to, including 3D printing, soldering, vinyl cutting and more, were attended by 36 women, more than last year, a testament to the increased number of sessions and getting the word out about the program.

From soldered circuit boards and printed circuit board (PCB) earrings to vinyl stickers of a logo designed by a team of students for their senior design project, participants never failed to make something creative.

“What I love at the end of the workshops are the outcomes. Students are extremely creative with their projects and always leave satisfied,” said Jimenez.

The women participating in the workshops were free to make whatever they wanted with what they had learned and the materials they had at their disposal, which encouraged their curiosity.

“Time and time again, women have proven they belong by making significant contributions to scientific advancements and to society as a whole,” Kearney said. “Getting more women in a place on campus for them to explore their interests will work wonders, helping ensure that we are maximizing their potential.”

Jimenez noted the challenges many students face. 

“Many students who attend our workshops are new to using these tools, having the desire to learn a new skill but often feeling intimidated to try in a male-dominated environment,” Jimenez said. “Our workshops provide a safe space for women to ask questions and for help — we encourage curiosity.” 

Two white figurines of imaginary creatures

Expanding the program, championing inclusivity

These student leaders of the Women's MakerSpace Workshop program believe that any Stevens student — not limited to women — should have an opportunity to utilize, as Kearney spotlights, “one of the most valuable, completely free resources offered on campus.”

“As a computer science major, I am grateful to have a place to learn 3D printing, laser cutting, vinyl cutting and more, and harness as much knowledge as I can to help others get started on their innovation journey,” said Jimenez.

Kearney noted, “Personally, having these workshops get some recognition makes all the countless hours we have put into this rewarding. But that doesn't even compare to seeing more people feel comfortable in the MakerSpace and using the tools confidently.”

Jimenez shared her personal growth through the program. “It is an honor to know that I am making a positive impact on the students at Stevens. Hosting the workshops has not only helped me build up confidence and leadership but has allowed me to apply my abilities in teaching and helping others.”

Looking ahead, Kearney shared plans for the next year. “Since the women's workshops were so successful and the first kinds of workshops offered from the Makerspace in such a way, we will be using the teaching materials and presentations to do all-gender workshops to make tool knowledge more accessible to the entire Stevens community.”

Learn more about academic programs and research in the Department of Mechanical Engineering: