Staff Name: Ashley Ricart
Position: Makerspace Technician
Alma Mater: Full Sail University, (B.S in Computer Science ‘11)
Office Location: Swenson Hall, N230A
For Ashley Ricart, coming to the Fowler School of Engineering (FSE) as the Makerspace Technician seemed like a natural fit. Ricart has worked in education for 10 years and has plenty of experience in maker spaces. This led Ricart to arrive at FSE’s doorstep prepared to help students learn in an otherwise intimidating space.
As the Makerspace Technician, Ricart is well versed in the many machines and tools within this creative space. Ricart serves as the ultimate Makerspace guide for users eager to learn and execute a project. Although our 3D printers and laser cutters are the most used machines in the Makerspace, Ricart’s favorite piece of equipment is our ShopBot Desktop CNC Router, a computer-controlled cutter with precision carving capabilities.
With her years of experience in education, Ricart ensures Fowler’s Makerspace is a welcoming environment by working alongside users to understand their projects and the machines that are best suited to complete them.
Q&A with Ashley Ricart
What led you to work for the Fowler School of Engineering?
Ricart: I have a history of working with 3D printers and working in makerspaces from a job at a K-12 school. And I really enjoyed a lot of aspects of that job and being in the Makerspace. I’ve been in education since 2012 or 2013. So, I saw the job post, and for whatever reason I just kept going back to it. And I eventually got it.
What are some of your responsibilities as a Makerspace Technician?
Ricart: I make sure the equipment is working properly and maintain all of the equipment and materials every week. I also help with showing students, staff, and faculty how to use the machines or how to best work through a project. Sometimes certain machines aren’t really ideal for a certain kind of project and some users of the space have this idea of, “Oh, I’ll just 3D print everything”. Sometimes it’s not as efficient even though the 3D printers and laser cutters are the most used machines here.
What area in the Makerspace is your favorite?
Ricart: The ShopBot. It’s a CNC Router. It is a computer-controlled cutter so you can cut flat two-dimensional objects or 3D carve too. You can make furniture and you can make all sorts of stuff. I’ve made a lot of plates, trays, bowls, and some plant stands. All sorts of different things.
Students are interested in the ShopBot. There was a student last year, who did a lot of woodshop stuff and he was really interested in it. He made a chair from it.
What were some of your favorite projects from students, alumni, and/or faculty, and why?
Ricart: This one student, Nathan, from last year. He came in probably every day and printed an entire Stormtrooper suite. It took him months.
I think there were a lot of reworking measurements and he put a lot of effort and time into finishing the suit. So, not just print it, but sanded it and for hours he would just be at the sander cleaning up the suit.
How can students best maximize the resources within the Makerspace?
Ricart: Probably just focusing on learning how to make whatever it is they are interested in. A lot of students will focus on downloading things, which is fine and it’s fun. But to really utilize the space, you need to know how to use the design programs and they need a reason why to do that. So, I think just finding projects that would be fun and ideal that give them a little motivation.
What have you noticed about Fowler students that impresses you?
Ricart: I think they’re pretty self-sufficient. I worked with middle schoolers before so it was very hands-on. But with our students, you could show them a thing and they just take it and run with it!