Loras College was recently awarded a $10,000 grant from the Dubuque Racing Association. The funds will support the creation of a STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) innovation laboratory in the St. Joseph Hall of Science.
The new lab will be constructed from a room that previously held a photography dark room. The new facility will add to lab space that currently houses 3D printers and tools, and provide students with the ability to better make connections between STEM disciplines. The innovation lab also will create more problem-based learning opportunities. By supporting the STEM disciplines, Loras and the DRA are helping to meet critical workforce needs in Dubuque and the surrounding area.
The project builds on a curriculum that enables students to find solutions to real world problems. Increasingly, students need additional space in which to experiment with their own ideas, and this lab will help meet that need. In the lab, students will design and build prototypes, test scientific theories, and use technology and mathematics tools to analyze what they have created. The projects involve physical design and 3D printing, electrical circuit design and construction and programming software for embedded computers. Students will engage in projects that range from first year and senior year design projects to design and build projects for internal and external customers.
In addition, the lab will be used in numerous community outreach programs hosted by the College for area youth, as well as by Eastern Iowa STEM teachers who study in a state-sponsored professional education program at Loras.