Matthew Spencer Named Director of Harvey Mudd Makerspace

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Located on the first floor of the Scott A. McGregor Computer Science Center, the makerspace helps Harvey Mudd College foster inclusive excellence on campus while creating new educational and community engagement opportunities.

“The place is just cool,” says Matthew Spencer, an engineering professor at Harvey Mudd, who started his assignment as director of the 8,000-square-foot facility on July 1. “Students love it. The place is always popping, and I want to keep an environment like that working.”

A hub of student creativity, the makerspace at Harvey Mudd is dedicated to being a place where everyone feels comfortable working on a variety of projects. “The people we get in the makerspace aren’t just engineers,” Spencer says. “We pull in a lot of artists from all over The Claremont Colleges. We also get Mudd students who are interested in art, in addition to technical people from all over our campus. I think that’s one of the real strengths of the makerspace.” Projects that people produce there engage all parts of their training, Spencer says, “from fine arts all the way to pretty serious engineering.”

The makerspace also fosters collaboration among The Claremont Colleges, Spencer notes. “It’s not just Mudders in the makerspace. It’s a cool space in a neatly designed building that’s available to the entire consortium. This helps our students take advantage of the consortium by meeting many different people. It’s also good for belongingness. People who work in the makerspace feel a part of a community at Mudd.”

As director, Spencer expects that he’ll also help with fundraising for the makerspace and looks forward to sharing the story of this “very valuable space.”

Spencer acknowledges the work of outgoing director Jeff Groves, who, he says, did a great job of getting things set up. “Kim Neal, the makerspace manager does just phenomenal work and really pours her heart and soul into her job. And thanks to the student stewards,” Spencer says. “It takes all of us to make the place work, and I’m honored to have been entrusted with this role.”