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The Exceptional Merit Grant Award: Makerspace

by Leilani Sigsbey
Student Marketing and Communication Assistant
The Ferris Foundation

Instructor and program coordinator of Product Design Engineering Technology, Luke Hedman, teaches students how to design products that solve problems at Ferris State University. Hedman, Ferris alum (’09), joined the Ferris faculty in 2014.

Hedman has always had a passion for design. “I picked it up as a kid by just building stuff and taking it apart, playing with LEGOs. I’ve always liked to build things.” This creative spark led Hedman and fellow instructor Phillip Grim to create The Ferris Makerspace in 2015.

“The main objective of The Makerspace is to remove barriers that prevent students from doing,” according to the grant proposal. The Makerspace provides free access to resources that support classwork and enhance student learning. This includes 3D printing of art, product prototypes, visual aids, architectural and geographical models, parts for RSO competitions, experiments, and more.

Photo of 3D Printer

The initial creation of the space was partially funded by a merit grant from The Ferris Foundation. “This is completely home-grown, faculty in our spare time,” Hedman shares. Since its foun

ding, the space has seen an increase in use. In the fall of 2021, over 650 students utilized the space. 

With the growth of The Makerspace comes the need to expand to fulfill student demands. This includes additional 3D printers, laser cutting and engraving equipment, and 3D scanning. To support further growth of the space, Hedman was again awarded The Ferris Foundation Exceptional Merit Grant for 2022. 

The merit grant allows The Ferris Makerspace to keep up with innovative technologies. In addition to new

equipment, this funding will assist with maintaining and supporting current machines that the Ferris Makerspace offers. Ultimately, one of the many goals and aspirations of The Ferris Makerspace is to expand in size and possibly make this area accessible to the public.

Witnessing what students can do when given the opportunity has been remarkable for Hedman to experience. “I get to teach people how to do something that I love, and I can’t think of a better job. The Ferris Foundation supports the place that makes that happen.” 

“Several years ago, I was walking across the quad, and I caught myself smiling for no reason and asked myself, why am I smiling?” Hedman shares, “I realized that it’s because I have the best job in the world.”