Making at Yale – Fulfilling President Obama’s Call for a ‘Nation of Makers’

President Obama is leading the nation in a week-long celebration of making June 12-18, 2015. The National Week of Making is a White House initiative to showcase the ingenuity and inventiveness of individuals who work together and create solutions to challenging problems. Responding to the President's call to action to create a "Nation of Makers," and as part of a White House event kicking off the National Week of Making, the Yale Center for Engineering Innovation and Design will help its students use making to tackle challenges such as accessing clean drinking water and remote monitoring of African farmland. The Yale projects were included in President Obama's June 12, 2015 announcement of the National Week of Making at the White House.

These projects are a component of the Yale School of Engineering & Applied Science's Summer Design Fellowship program held at the Center for Engineering Innovation and Design (CEID). Eleven Yale students and 2015 alums are engaged in design pursuits during a ten week program to create solutions to issues that each of the five teams identified as important problems to solve. The Yale CEID Summer Design Fellowship is unique in that student teams are provided the resources to create hardware and software solutions for a specific problem, as opposed to working on previously established research projects. It is the only fellowship specifically designed to assist "makers" at Yale.

The five teams, consisting of undergraduates and recent Yale alums from a variety of majors, are working to create products that range from utilizing UV-LED technology as a disinfectant, to a NASA-supported handheld device for exploring an asteroid. The Yale CEID 2015 Summer Fellowship teams and projects are:

  • Michael Cruciger '15 and Nafeesa Khan '15 will prototype a handheld device that will collect rock samples from an asteroid, as part of the NASA Micro-g NExT challenge – a nation-wide space research project. Their device, a trigger actuated rock sampler, will be tested at the end of the summer in NASA's Neutral Buoyancy Lab in Houston, TX.
  • Sarah Spaulding '18 and Jessica Alzamora '18 form the UV-LED Disinfection Team. The team will explore a range of potential uses for UV-LED technology as a method for disinfecting products ranging from water to hand held tools. They will conduct research on the safety, efficiency, and effectiveness of the technology in various operating conditions.
  • Raj Mahal '15, Sarah Cohen '17, and Michael Grace '15 have joined together to create Team MedNote. Their goal is to make the process of taking medicine easier and more intuitive through a compliance system. The team got its start as part of the Yale Entrepreneurial Institute Venture Creation Program – an idea incubator program –and they will use resources provided by the CEID Summer Design Fellowship program to prototype their design.
  • Joyce Guo '17 and Tiwa Lawal '17 will research and develop software solutions to decrease cultural-based disparities in healthcare. They are creating a web-based platform that connects patients, healthcare workers, and community leaders to ensure that minority patients receive more efficient and effective care.
  • Tayo Ajayi '15 and Gordon McCambridge '15 are working on a universal data monitor with developing world applications such as monitoring remote farmland. A continuation of work conducted by McCambridge as part of a Mechanical Engineering course project, the device will be piloted with Econet Wireless in the fall of 2015 in Harare, Zimbabwe, in order to collect environmental data in remote areas. 

This marks the third year of the CEID Summer Design Fellowship. Previous Fellows have pursued opportunities in biotech, aerospace, telecommunications, medical devices, and consumer products and many have used the opportunity as a springboard for future research, employment, and entrepreneurial opportunities directly related to their design project experiences. Currently, two Yale-assisted companies have been founded with support from this fellowship.

The Yale CEID Summer Design Fellows receive a competitive stipend, a modest budget for supplies, access to the CEID's equipment and materials, and project mentoring. The teams will make full use of the John Klingenstein Design Lab in the CEID to bring their ideas into being. These teams highlight the creativity and collaboration that is central to President Obama's "Week of Making" and illustrate how universities are responding to the White House challenge to create a "Nation of Makers."

These teams highlight the creativity and collaboration that is central to President Obama's "Week of Making" and illustrate how universities are responding to the White House challenge to create a Nation of Makers. The Yale Center for Engineering Innovation and Design was established to provide access to design and innovation tools and resources to all of Yale. The effort has increased design collaboration across campus including Yale School of Engineering & Applied Science partnerships with the Department of French, the Department of Music, the Yale School of Medicine, and other programs.