CMU shows off innovation, imagination with students showcase in Detroit

Central Michigan University students will be among more than 400 “makers” showcasing ideas, inventions and solutions at the 5th annual Maker Faire in Detroit.

Hosted by the Henry Ford Museum, the award-winning event celebrates technology and the arts from talent across the Midwest region. The goal is to bring together like-minded individuals and foster creativity, especially for those with an engineering and technology background.

“Henry Ford himself was a maker, he tinkered in his garage and by doing that, he put America on wheels,” said Melissa Foster, media and film relations manager for the Henry Ford Museum. “You never know what these people will be doing in the future. We could have the next Edison or Wright brothers come out of this.”

CMU is a regular sponsor of Maker Faire, but this year will mark the first time students are actively involved with the event. Headed by the College of Science and Technology, an open invitation was sent six weeks ago in an effort to display the hands-on opportunities available for students at the university.

Heidi Mahon, CST director of student services, said the event is a good opportunity to show prospective students the strength of CMU in science, technology, engineering and mathematics – commonly known as STEM fields. Mahon added Maker Faire is a vital chance to continue recruitment efforts for the university, as well as demonstrate to alumni what students are up to.

CMU is always trying to demonstrate to Michigan what our school has,” she said. “We’ll be showing people that (students) get hands-on experience and great opportunities.”

Lake City senior Walt Robertson is a student from the CMU Baja Society of Automotive Engineers club, who will be presenting an off-road vehicle. Baja SAE is an intercollegiate design competition in which teams of students from universities all over the world design and build small off-road cars of the same specifications.

Roberson lauded the opportunities given to him by the organization, and said the ability to enter the workforce with real-world experience already under his belt is invaluable.

“You get to apply what you learn in the classroom to something you can actually build and be proud of,” Robertson said. “We may not be the most prestigious school, but people in the workforce will see (Baja SAE) on your resume and a lot of prestige that comes with that.”

Other student projects showcased at the event include Go Garden, a student-founded social relationship manager that won $10,000 and the Best Technology award at the New Venture Competition.

Recent graduate Joe Shaheen, senior Zachary Konarska and junior Michael Drew co-founded Go Garden in January, which consolidates social media platforms to manage and grow a network of contacts.

Photographs by Novi senior Zack Wittman will also be shown. Wittman received a second-place award from the William Randolph Hearst Foundation’s Journalism Awards Program on June 5 which is given nationally for outstanding photojournalism.

The department of Broadcasting and Cinematic Arts will showcase a movie made by students in upper level classes.

Maker Faire Detroit is scheduled to run 9:30 a.m.-6 p.m. on July 26-27.

Tickets are required for admittance. Free tickets are available through Heidi Mahon, 989-774-1576, in the College of Science and Technology. For more information, visit


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