University of Saint Joseph and MakerspaceCT partner to empower students in STEM 

The University of Saint Joseph (USJ) today announced its partnership with MakerspaceCT, a 28,000-square-foot workshop and skills development center in Hartford, Conn. offering the community support and resources to learn and create. Through this partnership, USJ’s engineering science students will have access to those resources and the opportunity to apply for internships with MakerspaceCT. 

USJ President Rhona Free and MakerspaceCT Executive Director Devra Lee Sisitsky, sign a memorandum of understanding outlining their partnership.

“Ensuring that USJ students apply what they learn in their classes and on-campus labs in real-world settings requires that we have partner organizations in many industries from healthcare to accounting and now, for our Engineering Science students, in manufacturing and engineering,” said USJ President Dr. Rhona Free. “We are so glad that MakerspaceCT will be one of those partners, providing our students opportunities to work alongside experts with technology and equipment that will prepare them for the workforce.” 

MakerspaceCT, which will celebrate its fifth anniversary on April 19, is a skills development center for makers, manufacturers, entrepreneurs, members, and students. The 28,000-square–foot workshop in the iconic G. Fox Building in downtown Hartford is a place for residents, students, hobbyists, aspiring innovators, manufacturers, and entrepreneurs to access the tools, technology, resources, and educational opportunities they need to succeed in the state’s manufacturing and technology workforce. 

President Rhona Free tours the MakerspaceCT facility.

USJ’s B.A. in Engineering Science, set to begin this fall, will balance rigorous course work in engineering, mathematics, physics, and computer science with a strong component of the liberal arts. Students will engage in hands-on learning through engineering labs and project classes, developing skills that are crucial for success in careers across the engineering, scientific, and technology sectors. 

“Exposure to the high level of expertise and access to the tools at MakerspaceCT will prove advantageous for students pursuing a degree in engineering at USJ,” said Dr. Jerry Darling, the founding director of the Engineering Science program at USJ. “The opportunity for students and faculty to merge insights from the classroom with a real-world learning lab will position students for direct employment in engineering, including careers in manufacturing engineering, systems engineering, quality engineering, and many others.” 

Dr. Rhona Free, second from left, and Dr. Raouf Boules, Dean of USJ’s SASBE, on their tour of MakerspaceCT

This partnership comes at an opportune time, as the state focuses on increasing its manufacturing and engineering workforce, putting both USJ and MakerspaceCT at the forefront of preparing its students to be the solution. 

“USJ is committed to responding to the evolving needs of our society and economy through innovative educational programs and partnerships. The Engineering Science program launching this fall is a testament to this commitment, and it comes at a crucial time for Connecticut and the region,” said Dr. Raouf Boules, Dean of SASBE. “After visiting MakerspaceCT and seeing the possibilities firsthand, I am confident the hands- on experience our engineering students will acquire through this new collaboration will be invaluable.” 

“We are honored to form this partnership contributing to the University of Saint Joseph’s reputation for excellence,” said MakerspaceCT Executive Director Devra Lee Sisitsky. “This collaboration allows MakerspaceCT to reinforce our mission of positively impacting lives through technology, innovation, and education. Our combined educational and project-based lab opportunities will provide comprehensive engineering skills to USJ students. We are excited to impact the future of engineering education.” 

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