Innovation, Education to be Highlighted at White House Change for Making Event
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Cook Inlet Tribal Council (CITC) will be recognized for its innovation and educational impact as part of the White House Champions of Change for Making event on Friday, June 17. Director of Youth Education and Employment Services (YES) Renee Fredericks will accept the award during a special ceremony in Washington to be streamed live at 9 a.m. ADST.
Ten individuals nationwide were selected by the White House for their personal passion and tireless efforts to make advances in technology and platforms, educational opportunities or spaces that empower people to become tinkerers, inventors and entrepreneurs.
The Champions of Change program was created as an opportunity to acknowledge individuals doing extraordinary things to empower and inspire members of their communities. CITC’s fabrication laboratory (Fab Lab) serves as a catalyst for advancing technology-related opportunities and exposure for students enrolled in its educational services.
CITC’s Fab Lab is a digital fabrication resource center where students use high-tech design programs, industrial-grade manufacturing machines and electronic and programming tools to develop new solutions to practical problems that transform ideas into reality.
Created in partnership with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), this unique educational space challenges youth to connect to their full science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) potential. Community volunteers donate time, insight and talent to lab students in return for time in the space for independent work.
Among others using the Fab Lab model nationally, CITC’s Fab Lab is unique in combining cutting-edge tools with traditional Alaska Native cultural values and strengths around the development and adaptation of specialized technologies. Using tools and techniques that merge architecture and construction, students bring traditional concepts and understanding to their experiments in programming, design and fabrication.
“The Fab Lab reinforces CITC’s mission of empowering our youth, and I am grateful our Board had the vision and leadership for such a bold and unique community resource,” said CITC President and CEO Gloria O’Neill. “Education is the great equalizer, and these digital fabrication tools provide our students access to advanced technology, while reinforcing their cultural identity and connection to community.”
The White House celebration comes on the anniversary of the first-ever White House Maker Faire in June 2014 where President Obama launched the Nation of Makers initiative, an all-hands-on-deck call to ensure more students, entrepreneurs and Americans of all backgrounds have access to a new class of technologies—such as 3D printers, laser cutters and desktop machine tools—that are enabling more Americans to design, build and manufacture just about anything.
The event will feature remarks by U.S. Chief Technology Officer Megan Smith and Thomas Kalil, Deputy Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and will be live streamed on the White House website at www.whitehouse.gov/live/ on Friday, June 17, at 9 a.m. ADST. Follow the conversation at #WHChamps and #NationOfMakers.
Renee Fredericks: Cook Inlet Tribal Council, Anchorage, Alaska
Working to connect traditional Alaska Native crafts with the digital fabrication tools of today, Renee Fredericks directs the Youth Education and Employment Services department at Cook Inlet Tribal Council (CITC) in Anchorage. Under her leadership, CITC Fab Lab provides maker opportunities to Alaska Native and American Indian youth in partnership with the Anchorage School District and other youth organizations. Renee’s combined passion for preserving tradition while embracing opportunities led her to help launch the CITC Fab Lab and create its programs. Renee is committed to designing new hands-on approaches to help Alaska Native and American Indian students overcome academic disparities and increase skillsets for work available in the Alaskan economy and beyond.