From art to science: Collaborative creation

“I never thought I would be building a telescope and showing it off to people.” —Aashka Patel

In fall 2015, biology major Aashka Patel was one of nearly 20 students, whose majors ranged from biology to Russian languages to studio art, to gather in a new campus makerspace with one purpose: to make a telescope. Thanks to the Carolina Parents Council, the Be A Maker (BeAM) initiative—a network of makerspaces on the UNC campus—launched the Maker-in-Residence Program, which brought 25-year veteran telescope maker Jim Pressley to guide the process and help students develop the skills needed to bring ideas to life. The group hosted its first skywatching session in February 2016 at the Morehead Planetarium.

“We end up with artists working alongside engineers working alongside political scientists. We have staff working alongside students, undergraduate students working with graduate students. It creates this environment and atmosphere for interdisciplinary collaboration, which is very unique and very special,” said Michelle Garst, BeAM program manager.

Read the complete Carolina Story

This is story number 39 in the Carolina Stories 225th Anniversary Edition magazine.

Private giving is essential to the continuing success of these programs like the Maker-in-Residence Program and the BeAM makerspace network.

Video credit: Kristen Chavez/College of Arts & Sciences

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