Innovation Center aims to aid engineering students through discovery


University of Kentucky College of Engineering recently opened the UK Engineering Innovation Center. The center has different equipment and technology available to engineering students. Amera Nasser | Staff

Curtis Franklin

Whether a student has engineering ideas to bring to life, or simply a student in need of resources for an engineering project, the newly opened Engineering Innovation Center can help.

The Engineering Innovation Center, located on the second floor of the Ralph G. Anderson Building in Room 202, aims to help UK engineering students with developing hands-on projects of their own. It provides students with access to various resources beneficial to any interested engineering students, such as power tools, electronics stations and 3D printers, testing equipment and a laser cutter.

Feedback for the center has been positive so far, Doug Klein said, an affiliate director of the UK College of Engineering’s Project Lead the Way (PLTW) Kentucky. Klein was instrumental in setting up the Innovation Center.

“There have been a bunch of students come into the center and express that they plan to utilize it to complete work in their classes,” Klein said.

Civil engineering senior Zach Usselton, who works part-time at the Innovation Center, said it is a great place for those looking to put their project ideas into action. He said the creative freedom that the center allows is what separates it from the classroom setting, where many of the same tools exist but can only be used for completing schoolwork.

“For a lot of people, they have ideas of what they want to do, and this allows them to have tools that most people couldn’t afford,” Usselton said.

Usselton said that while the center has only been open for a week, he can already see the impact it is having on engineering students. He said students who are just looking to learn how to use the tools in a supervised environment are also welcome, and that there is always someone there to help.

“It’s pretty cool,” Steven Liu, a computer science senior, said. “I probably would have never considered 3D printing something if this place wasn’t here.”

Students looking to get involved must first join a Canvas class for the Innovation Center and complete a series of quizzes. Once students have demonstrated competency with the equipment, they may proceed to completing their projects using the resources provided in the Center. To join the class on Canvas, students should send their name and student I.D. number to Doug Klein at [email protected].

The Innovation Center is open from 11 a.m. to 9 pm. on Monday through Friday, 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Sundays and is closed on Saturdays. The center is open to all students.

For more information on the Engineering Innovation Center, please contact Doug Klein at [email protected].