“I can’t even begin to express how exciting it is to be here, to walk around and see these machines we’re actually going to be able to put our hands on, and learn, and take it to the next level,” said senior Lindsi Jones, shortly before cutting the ribbon to officially open UNC Asheville’s STEAM Studio at The RAMP on Dec. 15, 2016. The new facility adjacent to campus and in the north end of Asheville’s River Arts District will open up new possibilities for design projects beginning in the spring 2017 semester, and will bring together the disciplines of Mechatronics Engineering, Art, Computer Science, New Media and more under one roof.
“In this interdisciplinary space, with these amazing state-of-the-art pieces of equipment, our students can apply their theory and their design to create the devices that will shape our future,” said Rebecca Bruce, professor and interim director of UNC Asheville’s Mechatronics Engineering Program. “In this interdisciplinary space, our engineering students will work with artists to create form and function, to unify beauty and utility to address the full human condition.”
So it was more than symbolic that Jones, a mechatronics student, shared the big ribbon-cutting scissors with senior art major Jeb Hedgecock, who noted that “You don’t need nice equipment to make great art. What you do need is a community of supporters and devoted helping hands. I think, above all else, the fact that STEAM Studio has been brought to its feet is a testament that our school, and Asheville is just that sort of community.”