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Graduate Research Assistant Supports NCSU Libraries Makerspace

Jessica Handloff
Jessica Handloff is the first to receive a NCSU Libraries CRDM graduate research assistantship. (Courtesy NCSU Libraries)

-Written by Chris Tonelli, NCSU Libraries

Jessica Handloff is the first recipient of  the NCSU Libraries Communications, Rhetoric, & Digital Media (CRDM) Graduate Research Assistantship, which offers graduate students the opportunity to collaborate with skilled information professionals to gain experience providing technology services in an academic setting.

Handloff, a graduate student in communications, rhetoric, and digital media, is a former U.S. Army Captain and comes to NC State most recently from East Carolina University, where she earned a master’s degree in anthropology.

The assistantship, based at the NCSU Libraries Makerspace, is designed to enhance graduate student education through practical assignments that introduce participants to key issues and practices in educational technology.

This past June, the D. H. Hill Library opened its Makerspace. A major addition to the Makerspace program, and to the Libraries as a whole, this high-profile location provides ample space for collaborative work and teaching and is well situated to empower more of the NC State community with the creative tools and processes of making. In this space, the Libraries continues to focus on 3D printing and scanning, laser cutting and electronics prototyping, while adding new tools such as sewing and soldering and emphasizing hands-on access. The NCSU Libraries has a full slate of programming, workshops, presentations and opportunities for serendipitous making already in the works.

Adam Rogers, emerging technology services librarian, says that Handloff has already established herself as a crucial member of the D.H. Hill Makerspace team.

“Jessica has enriched the Makerspace with excellently designed learning resources, supported students and faculty in learning the processes and tools of making in innovative ways, and identified great opportunities for collaboration with her CRDM cohort and its faculty,” Rogers said. “I look forward to her contributions in the coming year, and know they will do a lot to establish the Hill Makerspace as a premiere space for critical and creative thinking and making on campus.”

The NCSU Libraries opened its first Makerspace in January 2013, with the opening of Hunt Library, making new tools accessible to users at NC State University and taking a leadership role in the growing movement for makerspaces in libraries. The Makerspace program includes 3D printing and laser cutting services, a variety of methods of 3D scanning, electronics prototyping kits to borrow, and a series of workshops and course collaborations that has grown each semester.

These efforts have brought the “Maker movement” into the Libraries and have grown its profile on campus by providing access to exciting high-end tools as well as entry-level learning and making experiences to all students, faculty and staff.

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