DUBUQUE, Iowa – Loras College, a four-year Catholic liberal arts college in Dubuque, will host a free public open house for its new innovation laboratory from 1 to 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 13 inside St. Joseph Hall of Science. The lab is made possible, in part, by a $10,000 grant from the Dubuque Racing Association.
The College was awarded the grant in June to support the creation of an innovation lab specifically for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and fund equipment. In addition, donations by alumni and friends of the College also helped purchase the equipment for the lab.
“Experts predict a national shortage of two million to fill science, technology, engineering and math-related occupations just within the next three years,” Danial Neebel, professor of engineering and computer science at Loras, said. “Without communitywide efforts like this, the gap will only widen.”
Estimated to cost more than $14,000, the lab houses 3D printers, computers, a computer numerical controlled milling machine, and a variety of tools, and provides students with the ability to better make connections between STEM disciplines and readily experiment with their ideas. Students 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. Projects range from first-year and senior-year design assignments to prototypes built for internal and external customers.
In addition, the lab will be used in community outreach programs for area youth, as well as by eastern Iowa STEM teachers who study in a state-sponsored professional education program at Loras.
ABOUT LORAS COLLEGE
Loras leverages its historic roots as Iowa’s first college, the second oldest Catholic college west of the Mississippi River and one of the nation’s 10 diocesan institutions to deliver challenging, life-changing experiences as part of its residential, Catholic setting. Loras ranks among 450 NCAA Division III athletic programs in Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup standings, 11th out of the Top 100 baccalaureate colleges, according to the 2016 Washington Monthly College Rankings, 13th Best Regional College, according to Midwest U.S. News Best Colleges and is among the 200 Best-Loved Colleges in the nation, according to Forbes Magazine.