UNT MindSpark
Maker Life Stories: University of Texas at Arlington FabLab

Maker Life Stories: University of Texas at Arlington FabLab

May 10, 2021

The University of Texas at Arlington FabLab


The maker movement has sparked a need for multidisciplinary centers of creativity across the globe. These creative centers -commonly called makerspaces, come to life with the cumulation of tools and resources that foster making through hands-on learning.

Located in Arlington, Tx the UTA FabLab is a prime example of such creative hubs for students. Here, students can fabricate computer-aided designs (CAD) through 3D printing, cut and etch with CNC machines, work with textiles through sewing and embroidering, and so much more. The UTA FabLab is highlighted as being the first MIT-affiliated Fab Lab in a Texas university and has helped ignite the spread of makerspaces.  

In this podcast series, we will take a deep dive into the world of making and explore the inspiration, drawbacks and success stories of makerspaces in higher education and beyond.



Morgan Chivers graduated from San Jose State University (2011) with four simultaneously conferred degrees: BA History, BA Global Studies, BFA Photography, BFA Spatial Arts (minors: Anthropology, Music, Religious Studies, German, Environmental Studies). Morgan earned an MFA in Glass/Intermedia (2015) at the University of Texas Arlington, where he is now the FabLab librarian and artist-in-residence, collaborating with faculty to integrate making and digital fabrication into curriculum across a beautifully diverse campus. As an author, Morgan has published about his studio practice, pedagogy, and the innovative work of the UTA FabLab, regularly presenting at conferences nationally and internationally. 

Jeffrey McCulley is the FabLab Coordinator of the UTA FabLab at the University of Texas at Arlington. He graduated from the University of North Texas with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling. While attending grad school, he worked at the UNT makerspace as a student worker and fell in love how makerspaces are uniquely placed to enable people from all backgrounds to come together to learn new things, collaborate on ideas and projects, and use equipment they normally wouldn’t be able to access. Jeffrey now works in the UTA FabLab to coordinate outreach events for community members and supervise student employees while helping to further develop their skill sets and abilities as student leaders.

Katie Musick Peery is the director of the UTA FabLab at the University of Texas at Arlington Libraries. She provides leadership around the development, management, and continuous improvement of the lab.  Katie has published on diversifying makerspace student hiring and best practices for makerspace training to increase the impact and efficacy that makerspaces can have on a college campus.  Her grant work and research are primarily focused on integrating maker literacies into higher education curricula.


Host Team: JP Abah and Danielle Da Costa

Sound Production: Steven Sparkman

Producer: Judy Hunter

Maker Mindset Series: Making Across Generations

Maker Mindset Series: Making Across Generations

April 26, 2021

Join the MindSpark Podcast team on a journey to explore maker mindsets across generations. We’ll speak to a multigenerational family who instilled a tinkering, explorative approach to navigating the world and mindset in their home. In this episode our guest will talk about the ways creating and making have influenced them and their family.


Guests: Raul Flores, Pamela Flores, Hanna Flores

Raul Flores, Software Engineer, Artist, and Maker

Pamela Flores, Travel Specialist University of North Texas, College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences and Artist

Hanna Flores:

Hi! My name is Hanna, and I'm graduating this semester with a Computer Science degree. I love working in a makerspace because it allows me to learn skills I would never have been able to learn otherwise. In addition, the flexibility of a makerspace has allowed me to turn my position into a software development role that still benefits the makerspace as a whole. I grew up in a creative home with parents who encouraged my exploration from the very beginning. The garage is a woodshop, and the living room is a seamstress' paradise. My home has always been a makerspace of my own, and working in a makerspace has been the most natural and enjoyable position I can imagine. To live and work in a place that always encourages trying something new just to see if it will work has made me happier than I could have ever hoped for, and I aim to be active in the community of makerspaces for the rest of my life! 

Electronic Music and Making

Electronic Music and Making

April 2, 2021

Join The Spark Spring 2021 Co-hosts Cameron and Alondra to learn about the field of Electronic Music!



C. Driller:


My name is Cameron. I’m a biochemistry and technical writing student at the University of North Texas and I’ve been a maker at the Spark since June of 2018. My expertise in the makerspace is based around 3D printing, sensors, and laser cutting.

I enjoy listening to different kinds of music while I work, but most of my work playlists switch between types of electronic music and oldies. This fact is one of the reasons why I decided to work on the electronic music episode of the podcast since I wanted to learn more about the genre I listen to.


A. Lopez:

My name is Alondra Lopez, and I'm a Knowledge Specialist at the Spark Makerspace since 2019. At the Spark, I mostly focus on creating blog posts and teaching and training textile-based equipment such as the cricut, embroidery, and sewing machines. I'm a senior Media Arts major and Marketing minor student at UNT. I love music, especially electronic music. I've always had an interest in that specific genre back in 2018, so it was nice to discuss it in this episode. 


Guest: Steven Sparkman

Hello, I’m Steven Sparkman. I am a media arts major that focuses on audio and 3d graphics. I work at the Spark teaching students about the different tools and software we offer. Also I run the podcast and twitch live streams for the Spark.


Producer: Judy Hunter and Steven Sparkman

Hackathons, more than security.

Hackathons, more than security.

March 22, 2021

In this episode, put together by a team a Makers and Specialists from The Spark makerspace at the University  of North Texas Libraries, our hosts talk about Hackathons. Really delving in to 3 main questions:

1) What is a hackathon?

2) What happens at a hackathon?

3) Why would you want to participate in a hackathon?



Hanna Flores, Spark Maker and UNT Senior in Computer Science

Tad Weerasignhe, Spark Maker and UNT Senior in Computer Science

Arthur Sliter, Spark Specialists and UNT Sophomore in Mechanical Engineering

Production Team:

Audio Production: 

Steven Sparkman, Spark Maker and UNT sophomore in Media Arts and Theatre

Welcome to UNT MindSpark Spring 2021

Welcome to UNT MindSpark Spring 2021

January 28, 2021

Welcome to UNT MindSpark Spring 2021 is an episode to introduce UNT MindSpark, the approach for the Spring 2021 semester, topics our student host teams will be delving in to, as well as our goal for this podcast. We will explore some of the things that have changed in The Spark Makerspace at UNT and how we are approaching making through the pandemic.


Host: JP Abah

JP is UNT Student, Lead, Ambassador, and Maker. He has been working in the makerspace at UNT for over three years, with a passion for the maker movement and the impact of experiential learning provided by the hands on learning in a makerspace. JP is a senior at UNT who is set to graduate later this year with a Bachelors of Applied Science in Data Analytics.

Producer and Guest: J. Hunter

The Operations Manager for The Spark Makerspace at the University of North Texas Libraries.  She received her Bachelor’s degree in Occupational Training and Development and her Master’s degree in Public Administration from UNT, and has more than 20 years as a professional IT manager and has been with the UNT Makerspace since its inception.

As the operations manager, Judy is responsible for staff development, project management, the space transitions and technology advancements.   She has been instrumental in the success of the Libraries’ progress in these areas.

Producer and Editor: S. Sparkman


Changing of the Guards for UNT MindSpark

Changing of the Guards for UNT MindSpark

October 7, 2020

Please join the UNT Spark Makerspace as we bring you up to date with changes that happened between semesters and introduce to you the Fall 2020 team of hosts for UNT MindSpark Podcasts.

How Escape Rooms can Spark Creative & Imaginative Play

How Escape Rooms can Spark Creative & Imaginative Play

August 3, 2020


Following from our previous weeks’ episode, we continue exploring the concept of creative play but this time through the prism of escape rooms. An escape room is a time-constrained real life adventure game that requires you to complete a mission and “escape”. Escape rooms can be a great creative outlet for both its makers and explorers. This week we are joined by Amanda and Yancey Yeargan; they are a husband and wife team who own and operate Quandary Escape Adventures with their partner Tim Sonnier. Sit tight because in this episode, we’ll be touching on topics like - why Escape room are a growing creative outlet for many, what escape room creators want you to know and how you can beat any escape room.  


Host: JP Abah & Steven Sparkman

Guests: Amanda Yeargan, Yancey Yeargan


Bio: Amanda and Yancey Yeargan are a husband and wife team who own and operate Quandary Escape Adventures with their partner Tim Sonnier. Both Alumni of UNT, Yancey has an associate degree in Electronics and a bachelor’s in computer science. He wires and programs most of the electronics involved in their escape room games. Amanda graduated with a bachelor’s in general studies and taught Algebra for seven years before launching into the Escape Room industry. An avid woodworking enthusiast, Amanda designs and builds most of the props in their escape rooms as well as designing story lines and puzzle logistics.

Our Makerspace’s role in Childhood Learning

Our Makerspace’s role in Childhood Learning

July 1, 2020

Our Makerspace’s role in Childhood Learning

This week we are shifting gears a little bit from creative thinking to talk about our Summer programming class, we also talk about why The Spark Makerspace has embraced the vital work of exposing children to emerging technologies. The recurring topic in this episode is the concept of creative play as an important aspect of childhood development. Through creative play, children can further develop emotionally, socially, intellectually and physically. Our discussion is with UNT’s Makerspace manager- Judy Hunter as well as UNT Alumni/ curriculum developer of The Spark summer programming class- Alicia Maldonado. We hope our audience can take away the value in exposing children as early as possible to these creative opportunities.

Sources: The Importance of Creative Play for Kids. (n.d.). Retrieved June 30, 2020, from https://www.thelittlegym.com/blog/2017/9/the-importance-of-creative-play-for-kids/

Host: JP Abah & Steven Sparkman

Guests: Alicia Maldonado, Judy Hunter

You can reach out to our team at UNTMindSparkpodcast@unt.edu 

Emersive Learning through Virtual Reaity in a Makerspace

Emersive Learning through Virtual Reaity in a Makerspace

June 10, 2020

In this episode Makerspace employees discuss the impact of virtual reality availability in a number of fields. Bringing design thinking in to the arts, and developing new mediums for art and learning.

Host: JP Abah and Steven Sparkman

Guest Speakers:

Nick Carter, UNT New Media Arts Alum, The Spark (Factory) Makerspace Alum, a current SMU Graduate Game Design Student

Cameron Driller, current UNT biochemistry student and Spark Maker


The Power of Creation- Game Design

The Power of Creation- Game Design

May 21, 2020

In this episode we explore game design theory, using creativity to transfer ideas into a game.

Host: JP Abah and Steven Sparkman

Guest: Jeremy Kincaid Prosper ISD Teacher, Librarian, and Writer.

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