NDSU is a place where students can pursue their passions and make their ideas a reality.
“NDSU has an atmosphere where a student can be a voice for something that they think is important. That’s definitely been my experience,” said Timothy Straus, a senior manufacturing engineering major from West Fargo, North Dakota. “Anyone who is passionate about something can find a venue for rallying people around that idea here.”
Straus’ academic adviser encouraged him to pursue his passion for innovation early in his college career. That advice helped him connect with NDSU students who share the same interests and become a Stanford University Innovation Fellow. Stanford fellows push innovation and work as change agents to enhance their university.
These experiences set him up to be part of a winning team in NDSU’s Innovation Challenge. And through his involvement in NDSU’s 3D printing club, he provided a support letter for a grant to transform NDSU’s 3D printing lab. The space is now the Digital Fabrication Lab which offers the use of a variety of 3D printers, CNC mills, hand tools and more. It’s open to all students.
“We had some resources for students on campus, but there wasn’t a space where students could come together to collaborate, innovate and then create prototypes of the big ideas they have,” Straus said.
Straus is now working with a team at NDSU’s Research and Technology Park to develop a makerspace there. And he’s working part time with Emerging Prairie to implement a similar space for their Grand Farm initiative that uses technology and innovation to improve the future of farming. The end goal is to create a fully autonomous farm by the year 2025.
“I don’t think I would be in the role that I am without my experience with NDSU’s clubs, the Innovation Challenge and makerspace development,” he said. “It’s really shaping where I want to go.”
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