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Engineers’ projects in focus as campus makerspace holds first “reverse career fair”

February 7, 2019 By David Tenenbaum

Engineering students at University of Wisconsin–Madison showed off a few projects to each other and to representatives of eight Wisconsin companies ranging from small and local to large and national. The projects included a prototype for a Mars rover and a phenomenally impractical watch based on obsolete technology.

The event showcased Makerspace, a two-year-old maker’s paradise located in Wendt Engineering Library. With a broad range of equipment and tools, Makerspace is “The hub for rapid prototyping on campus,” says Taylor Waddell, a third-year mechanical engineering student who coordinated the event. “How do you go from idea to reality as quickly as possible? The central idea of making is, if I have a problem, what is the quickest way to solve it? The solution may not be going to buy a product. Maybe it’s better if you make it.”

The event was dubbed a “reverse career fair’ because it inverts the usual relationship, where potential employees wander past employer booths, says Waddell. “It’s a great way for students who have been making a wide range of projects and prototypes to show them off. Typically, at a career fair you just hand out your resume. If you bring your prototype here, and show it to the company reps, that’s a little more personal; it will create a better relationship.”

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