The Student News Site of Bishop Miege

Bishop Miege Press

The Student News Site of Bishop Miege

Bishop Miege Press

The Student News Site of Bishop Miege

Bishop Miege Press


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Innovation Initiative: Students use new available tech for classes across school

The Joe Pedrotti innovation Center has helped bring to life many projects across core, and elective classes alike. Coordinator Jackie Arico helps teachers like Dessert to administer the different machines they don’t know how to use. “Dr. Arico was really proactive about getting teachers and their classes into the lab,” Dessert said. “She puts up QR codes around the building for the Lab sign-up page, which I often take advantage of.”

As students in Spanish class shuffle into the Joseph Michael Pedrotti Innovation Center Engineering Lab & Project Studio, they are filled with excitement, eager to create their next project while being assisted by coordinator Jackie Arico who helps students use technology to enhance their designs. 

At the beginning of the year, the Joseph Pedrotti Innovation Center opened its doors to new possibilities, allowing students the use of laser cutters, 3D printers, drills, saws and a surplus of design materials. Spanish teacher Jennifer Dessert has used the lab numerous times across her different classes and attributes the lab’s success to Arico.

“Dr. Arico has been amazing at finding creative projects and then facilitating them in a way that I feel really supported,” Dessert said. “The chance to work in a new space with cutting-edge tools and a competent facilitator allows me to blend art, culture, and science in a way I would not be able to do on my own in my classroom.”

According to freshman Owen Meyers, a student in Desserts class, creating a safe well-managed space for new projects, ensures students have the opportunity to experience more hands-on learning, increasing their overall engagement.

According to Coordinator Jackie Arico about 75% of teachers have found a way to incorporate the new innovation lab tools into their curriculum. A recent student survey of 148 people shows 90% of students have used the 3D printer, laser cutter or vinyl cutter at least once.

“It makes me feel creative because it unveils a new realm of possibilities,” Meyers said. “Having the new lab elevates the potential of creativity outside of the classroom.”

There are no class requirements to use the lab, making its technology and instruction open to everyone. Dessert said she uses the lab to help her students better understand and appreciate Hispanic artistic customs. 

“My classes have used the lab to create laser-cut sugar skulls with LED lights built with a battery,” Dessert said. “They also have created beautiful laser cut ‘nichos’ honoring someone they know and respect.”

Spanish teacher Martha Drone used the abundance of supplies to start a competition between her classes to determine who could design the best pyramid. This was in correlation to the ancient Mayan pyramids and the language they used. 

“The lab offers valuable opportunities for growth, creativity, team building and class bonding,” Drone said. “I love seeing students share ideas and come together to create beautiful art.”

According to junior Meara Hellings, a student in Drone’s class, collaboration with classmates allows her to better understand the material and the meaning behind the traditions of current and ancient civilizations. The ability to learn through doing hands-on activities makes projects more enjoyable for students. 

“I was awestruck as my creation came to life because I’ve never experienced anything quite like it,” Meyers said. “My favorite part was the detail and unique coloration of the engraved wood that was coming out of the laser engraver.”

Spanish Teacher Jennifer Dessert’s classes made sugar skulls out of wood using laser cutters. They are learning about the artistic side of different Hispanic cultures. “For me, the innovation lab has given me the space, support and tools to expand my creativity as a teacher,” Dessert said. “It is a fusion of art and science that really brings projects alive. “


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About the Contributors
Elaina Gibson, Web Editor in Chief
Julia Meyers, Staff Writer
River Ball, Opinion Editor

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