In rural Arizona, community access to computers and media equipment can be a challenge. In the town of Willcox, students and adults alike were struggling to access and understand media programs that had become necessary in building and promoting their hobbies or businesses. In hopes of fostering more education in the community (population 3,500), Dr. Gayle Berry and her team created Studio 128, a Media Makerspace and public STEM space where adults and children alike are exposed to different technology and media platforms.
How did they do it?
With funding from the Arizona Rural Activation and Innovation Network (RAIN), the group was able to transform an abandoned space downtown into an place for community members to come and learn different skills in technology and engineering. The Cochise County Rural Innovation Council (CCRIC) and Dr. Berry partnered to create Studio 128. Since its inception, the two groups have worked in stages to create a unique, and innovative maker and prototyping space.
And the outcomes have been incredible…
So far Studio 128 has engaged over 375 community members, most of them between the ages of 8-25, in a variety of technology and engineering programs including CAD training, summer STEM programs and weekly Friday STEM camps that supplement No-School Fridays within the school system. This extension of STEM in the community offers students the opportunity to gain more experience and overcome any potential disadvantage of not having access to this type of training and equipment.
The Arizona Rural Activation and Innovation Network (RAIN) is funded by the National Science Foundation to oversee grant funding for informal STEM education projects in four rural Arizona communities: Cochise County, Graham and Greenlee County, the Verde Valley, and the Navapache/White Mountains region. RAIN acts as a resource for best practices in informal STEM program development and works to highlight effective STEM programs, employers and organizations across the state of Arizona. Interested in applying for a grant? Visit our website today and learn more about the opportunities in your community.