NPC Opens Makerspace On Campus

Michael Karr, Mark McCorkle, John Hogan, Robin Pelton, and Kelli Embry holding and cutting red ribbon.National Park College (NPC) hosted a virtual grand opening Wednesday for the Makerspace, which recently relocated to campus from Albert Pike Road.

John Hogan, NPC president explained the vision to create a space where students, employees, employers, and the community could converge and bring innovation to life. “This is a place for students to learn through free access to emerging technologies, software and other tools. Our goal is to enhance learning by providing open source opportunities to explore through hands-on, real-world projects that cross all disciplinary boundaries,” he said. 

“Our success as a college is determined by our commitment to original thinking and problem-solving and the Makerspace is emblematic of NPC’s character as a hub for innovation and creativity. I am excited to see what pioneering projects and ideas emerge from this new space,” Hogan added.

Mark Conry, owner of Jaeco Orthopedics discussed the importance of the Makerspace for small businesses and how it can help them to best invest their capital. “Oftentimes we want to be able to do innovative things to make new products, but to go out and invest in machinery and tools in order to do that is sometimes very challenging for small businesses. The Makerspace has allowed me to use their rapid prototyping products, 3D printers...to have access to that along with the expertise they are able to provide to small businesses has been very helpful to me.”

Vice President for Workforce and Strategic Initiatives, Kelli Embry said the space was established in 2015 with a regional workforce grant from the Arkansas Department of Higher Education, which provided more than $1 million over the past five years and has served more than 10,000 individuals.

NPC Board Chair, Forrest Spicher shared about creating a culture of entrepreneurship and its impact on economic development. “National Park College continues to transform the educational offering in our community. This maker movement that is part of our academic delivery in this community is certainly no exception. The Makerspace contributes in so many ways in our community to economic development.”

Makerspace coordinator Michael Karr concluded the event with a guided tour for participants. Information about the Makerspace and membership opportunities is available at np.edu/makerspace.

Pictured left to right are Michael Karr, Mark McCorkle, John Hogan, Robin Pelton, and Kelli Embry.