Innovation Orchard now open

Students are now able to print in 3D for free at Ganesha High School.

A new space that incubates student startup teams by giving them a place to collaborate, generate and discuss new ideas, called the Innovation Orchard (IO), is now open at Ganesha High School.

An offshoot of Cal Poly Pomona’s Student Innovation Idea Lab, otherwise known as the iLab, the IO contains 2,100 square feet of space for students to create and innovate. It includes a conference room, classroom, wood working room, machine shop, 3D printing room and team meeting spaces.

The IO offers free 3D printing with no time limits, while the iLab offers 30 hours of free 3D printing.

Julia Valenti, a third-year mechanical engineering student and iLab technician, specializes in 3D printing.

“It’s worth the experience … you don’t really get access to that sort of machinery,” Valenti said. “The Innovation Orchard staff is really attentive to everyone that comes since there [aren’t] as many people coming, so you can get a lot of hands-on experience with the staff there to help you, so that is also a great perk.”

Olukemi Sawyerr, the Student Innovation Idea Lab director, said the iLab was the IO’s starting place.

“The iLab is the umbrella and so the iLab is that space, the first space,” Sawyerr said.

Jack Mitchell, a third-year mechanical engineering student, and Alex Geeves Booth, a third-year mechanical engineering student, help prepare the IO lab for the grand opening. (Courtesy of Brianna Brock)

She said the iLab is also working on a third space of this kind at the library.

“The IO is the second innovation space and we are building a maker space at the library. That will be our third innovation space, so the goal is to have multiple spaces on campus that support different kinds of student projects,” she said.

Unlike the iLab, the IO has a few requirements before being able to access the space. Since it is located at a high school, completing a live scan through an appointment at the Cal Poly Pomona Police Department is required and a fee of $60 must be paid. A tuberculosis screening at the Student Health and Wellness Center or with a personal physician is also required.

Armando Cordero is one of two lab technicians who work with students at the IO. (Courtesy of Brianna Brock)

The IO also created a program exclusively for a few lucky Ganesha High School students. Only 10 students were selected to work with CPP students in developing new products at the IO.

“One of the goals of the IO is to provide a pathway to college for Ganesha High School students,” Sawyerr said. “This is a really unique program. We have a college professor going to a high school campus, college students going to a high school campus and interacting with the students there to co-develop projects and I am excited to see what’s going to come out of that.”

Tucker Dunbar, a third-year mechanical engineering student and IO lab technician, has been working with students in the program every Friday.

“It’s fun to be able to help people if they have an idea and bring it into reality,” Dunbar said. “Teaching people is very rewarding. The light bulb moment that people get when they don’t get it, and then all of a sudden they do, that’s always really fun to watch because you can see it happening.”

The IO and iLab are open to all CPP students, staff and faculty.

“I would encourage students to check it out and if there are things you want to learn how to use, we have workshops,” said Sawyerr. “It doesn’t matter what your major is, it doesn’t matter what level of skill [you have]. If you’re interested in learning and knowing how to do things, the space is open.”

The Innovation Orchard is located at 1151 Fairplex Drive, Pomona, CA 91768 and is open Mondays and Wednesdays from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m., Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Fridays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

For more information about the IO you can visit its website www.cpp.edu/~io/

Contact the IO at io@cpp.edu prior to visits.

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