Former Olympian faced life’s foils

South early college high school student Julio Aguero practices one on one with Vinnie Bradford as other fencing club members observe Feb. 7.
South early college high school student Julio Aguero practices one on one with Vinnie Bradford as other fencing club members observe Feb. 7. Photo by Robert Burn/The Collegian

By Kathryn Kelman/editor-in-chief

TCC instructor reflects on her path to 1984 Olympics, fencing history 

With little to no support for her to become an athlete, Vinnie Bradford still became an Olympic fencer through hard work, discipline and perseverance.

Bradford, a South health and physical education adjunct instructor, competed in women’s foil for the U.S. in the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. Foil is one of three weapons in fencing along with epee and saber.

“In 1984, women were only allowed to fence in one of those weapons, and that was foil,” Bradford said.

That has changed since then, but for her, it was exciting to be an athlete despite her options being so limited, she said.

Bradford, who grew up in Fort Worth, attended school before Title IX, a federal statute that protects people against gender discrimination in educational activities and programs, was adopted in 1972. Her high school only had sports for boys.

But she wanted to be an athlete.

Vinnie Bradford
Vinnie Bradford

“That was just my calling, to move and play and perform,” she said.

Without school sports, Bradford went to a Fort Worth recreation center where a fencing class was offered to adults. She was the only child in the class but showed talent early on, and the coach began to work diligently with her, she said.

Bradford started fencing at age 11 but didn’t make the Olympics until she was 29 and took a less than conventional route to get there.

“The lesson there is perseverance,” she said. “We have dreams, and it’s not always easy to obtain your dreams, but don’t give up.”

At 16, she decided she wanted to be an Olympic fencer after going to Madrid, Spain, for the junior world championships, where she had an “aha” moment.

“I thought to myself, ‘Well, if I really got serious about this, I wonder what would happen?’” Bradford recalled.

Bradford was determined to be an athlete but lacked support. She ended up dropping out of high school to focus on fencing and pursue her education in a different way.

She spent a year taking courses around the Metroplex before earning a GED and then attending TCC’s South Campus for a semester while she figured out her next move.

Bradford started college at San Jose State University the year Title IX went into effect and was one of the first women in the state of California to be given an athletic scholarship, she said.

She and her teammates won the NCAA national championship four years in a row, which was the first time a female fencing team had done so, and it hasn’t been done since, Bradford said.

“That was another door opening for women,” she said. “We were breaking a record, and people were going, ‘Wow,’ and there was more respect for women’s ability to be athletes.”

Fencing shaped Bradford’s life in many ways.

South student Joshua Padilla free fences foil against ECHS student Julio Aguero during a Fencing Club practice Feb. 7.
South student Joshua Padilla free fences foil against ECHS student Julio Aguero during a Fencing Club practice Feb. 7.
Photo by Robert Burn/The Collegian

“I learned discipline,” she said. “I can really get a lot accomplished even in my old age because I am disciplined and organized, and I learned that on that journey.”

She also learned how to overcome adversity.

“Believe you me, I had many, many, many failures along the way, many disappointing failures. Many times, I wanted to just give up,” she said. “I learned that you can get it. Those who persevere will get it.”

Fencing was a traditionally male-dominated world and systematically closed off to women, which taught Bradford the value of sticking to her values and standing up for her rights, she said.

“That’s not easy when there’s a whole bunch of men, older than you, trying to mow you down,” she said. “It’s scary. It’s frightening. But once you do it and you realize you can be successful, it gives you more strength.”

The U.S. was not a powerhouse in fencing yet, so she didn’t have the strongest coaches or the backing needed to compete at that level, though her coaches still poured their hearts and souls into her, she said.

“There’s a lot of stress and a lot of pressure competing at the world level,” she said. “I felt often like I was there alone.”

Still, competing at the Olympics was one of the most thrilling moments of her life despite the challenges she faced. Bradford recalled what it was like to walk into the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum for the opening ceremonies.

“You walk underneath through the tunnel, and you can hear the crowds roaring, roaring,” she said. “It’s just so exciting, such a thrill, and you’re totally surrounded by greatness.”

Bradford described herself as a mediocre international fencer, having finished in 23rd place at the Olympics.

The results she’s proudest of were her national results that put her on the Olympic team. She won gold at the women’s national championship in both foil and epee, which had never been done before and hasn’t been done since, she said.

“It opened people’s minds to the possibility that women could be great in a second weapon,” she said.

After that career ended, Bradford, like many athletes, had misgivings about what to do next. She decided to return to school to get a master’s in kinesiology.

She studied at the University of Texas in Austin, where she taught fencing as a graduate assistant. After finishing her master’s, she taught fencing full time and coached the university’s fencing club.

Bradford pursued teaching because she wanted a meaningful job rather than one that doesn’t give back, she said.

“There’s nothing more rewarding than when you see the light bulb go off in a student’s head,” she said. “Watching people grow, watching people learn, watching people get it and knowing that you created part of the path for them to get there makes you feel meaningful.”

After UT, Bradford taught for the Alamo Community College District in San Antonio, where she learned to teach other things like yoga. After retiring, she and her husband moved back home to Fort Worth and began teaching at TCC. She is now in her fourth semester as a health and physical education adjunct instructor.

Bradford started the Fencing Club this semester with students from the early college high school course she taught last fall.

South ECHS student and club member Genesis Delgado said he is appreciative of the guidance and wisdom all of Bradford’s experience with fencing has given her.

“Any question that we have, I feel comfortable going up to her and talking to her about it cause she knows it [fencing] so well,” she said.

South ECHS student Julio Aguero was approached by Bradford about joining the club because of the interest he showed during the course, he said. He joined because he likes working with her.

“She’s really laid back and pretty cool,” he said. “She’s strict when she has to be, but overall, she’s really cool and a great teacher.”

Program sees big donations

The Collegian Logo
The Collegian Logo

By Kathryn Kelman/editor-in-chief

South Campus’ homeless outreach program has recently acquired an abundance of donations from community partners totaling over $30,000.

Visions Unlimited, one of the five community outreach programs TCC has, was established by South Campus in 2007 and conceptualized by the late chancellor Erma Johnson Hadley. Through a team of South faculty, staff and community partnerships, the program works to provide a pathway to higher education for persons currently residing in homeless shelters, said South psychology assistant professor Tina Jenkins, the project manager for the program.

“There isn’t another program like this one in North Texas,” she said. “We’re very proud of that.”

The program partners with three Tarrant County homeless shelter providers, Union Gospel Mission, the Salvation Army and Presbyterian Night Shelter, to screen and identify people who would be a good fit.

“Students must be currently residing in one of the shelters and be referred by a case manager to enter the program,” said Jenkins, who works closely with the case management staff and administrators at the homeless shelters.

Vision Unlimited’s mission is to inspire self-sufficiency in individuals and families by mobilizing, equipping and empowering them. Parts of the program that encourage the development of students’ academic and personal lives include the blending of psychology courses early on in the program, work-study program participation, free lunches on days they’re on campus, assigned counseling and follow-up sessions and helping students with access to financial resources to promote retention and success.

“Visions Unlimited also offers mentorship by pairing a new student with a student that has already completed their first semester in the program,” Jenkins said.

Through community initiatives and collaborations, Visions Unlimited also helps supply books, school supplies and bus passes to students for the first semester.

Fort Worth Housing Authority is one of the community partners of the program and they designate a small amount of subsidy housing vouchers to the program to help Visions provide incentive and reward students excelling and meeting criteria standards set by both TCC and the housing authority.

Amerigroup, the nation’s largest health insurance and managed health care provider for public programs that offers care through three government programs and targets low-income segments of the population, and two churches in the Fort Worth community donated funding for the program because they believe in it, Jenkins said.

The program has a great purpose and reputation within the community and because of that, organizations want to support it, Jenkins said.

Amerigroup donated $25,000, the First Presbyterian Church donated $4,500 and St. Paul United Methodist Church donated $2,595, Jenkins said.

The large amount of donations, totaling $32,095, received in the last few months is listed among the program’s “Starpoints of Success.”

“We want to share how much we greatly appreciate the generous donations that these entities have bestowed upon these programs to expand services to our students in need,” she said.

The money St. Paul donated came from a fundraiser the church does every year for the program that South math instructor Maggie Foster started.

Foster, a member of the church, met a Visions Unlimited student who worked in South’s math lab. One day, Foster said she overheard the student talking about a shelter and asked her to explain.

“She said she was homeless and living at the shelter. I then said, ‘But you are a student here,’” she said.

That’s when she learned of the Visions Unlimited program.

“I thought, ‘How do we have this really great program to help students and know nothing about it?’” Foster said.

After the conversation with the student, she reached out to Jenkins to learn more and thought maybe her church could help, Foster said.

Foster and her church now host a “Taco Pile-Up Lunch,” where they accept donations for the program from those who attend. Last fall, the church held its seventh annual scholarship luncheon, she said.

“Jenkins arranges for a student or faculty member involved in the program to speak during Sunday worship, and then we all have lunch afterwards,” Foster said, adding that South Campus president Peter Jordan and other administrators and colleagues have attended the luncheons in past years.

The fundraiser is named the Bob and Dolores Foster Scholarship Luncheon in honor of Foster’s parents who were charter members of the church, and so far it has been working well, Foster said.

“What better way than to fellowship with friends and support a great cause?” she said.

Foster sees value in supporting the Visions Unlimited program, she said.

“It changes lives in a positive way, giving people back their confidence and self-reliance,” Foster said.

South academic adviser Deshun Jackson is one of the two advisors that helps students in the program and said they are excited about the donations because it will help them provide students in the program with additional resources and hopefully help them service more students.

“The students in the Visions program are so grateful and thankful for this program because it’s a program of second chances,” she said. “The fact that TCC South Campus is the only campus that actually has this program is really what makes that program stand out.”

Jackson wishes every campus had the Visions Unlimited program so they can help more people.  She’s hopeful that the more funding they get over time, the more that could become a possibility and therefore the more people they could help, she said.

“With the program, there’s always a waiting list and you want to service everybody, but because there’s a waiting list, you can’t,” Jackson said. “So hopefully, more funding will be available, so we don’t have a wait list.”

No set plans for the money have been made yet, but both Jenkins and Jackson are excited to explore the expansion of the services the program currently offers students and are in the process of discussing those possibilities.

“There are just situations and costs that these students have sometimes that we haven’t had in the past funding to address, but now, we have a means to be able to utilize this money to maybe help them in some of those ways,” Jenkins said.

History’s lessons can offer reflection

Sean Madison
Sean Madison

By Jamil Oakford/managing editor

Black History Month

Second in a series highlighting black leaders at TCC

 

It’s not about whether one encounters difficulties in life, it’s all about how one chooses to face them, TR Campus president Sean Madison said.

Madison, a Morehouse College graduate, said facing adversity is a side effect of a purposeful life.

“I believe that anyone who is on a mission to achieve any degree of greatness will find themselves having to overcome challenges, face adversity, encounter setbacks and roadblocks,” he said.

While Madison said he has had his fair share of challenges, he believes two parts of his life kept him focused on his goal through it all.

“I have interfaced with strong, positive influences who kept me on track,” he said. “I also believe that my faith has helped me manage or overcome challenges.”

On his road to becoming an educator, Madison said he was convinced plenty of times he was destined for a different calling that would ensure he made a good living.

He wanted to be an attorney.

After graduating Boston University with a master’s in English and education, he was convinced he would be an attorney and not a teacher, he said.

“I had planned to teach three years while I studied for the LSAT, but there again, destiny intervened, this time solidifying my plans,” Madison said.

It was Madison’s time at Miami Dade community college in Florida when he said he was ultimately influenced that he would stick to being an educator rather than pursue law school.

While working with students considered as “underprivileged,” he found he enjoyed the connections he could make and the impact he could have in helping them reach their goals, he said.

“I realized that I could help any student realize her or his dream if I pursued a career as a professor,” he said.

He described that getting the chance to work with students and really impact their lives has been a crowning achievement.

“Over the years, I have worked with thousands of students, most of whom go on to transfer or graduate,” Madison said. “I am especially proud when I am able to see how a contribution I have made, or an encouraging word perhaps, positively influenced a student, staff or faculty member to reach a goal.”

It makes his work meaningful and fulfilling, he said.

“The feeling I get from that is something I always remember,” Madison said. “It fuels my passion and gets me excited to get up each day and keep doing what I do.”

That passion may be contagious.

“What I admire about him personally is he’s a straight shooter,” said Carter Bedford, TR student development services director. “He tells you what he’s thinking, what he expects. I appreciate that.”

Bedford, who joined TR about a year after Madison, said Madison established a vision for the campus early on.

“My joy has been trying to work toward that vision,” he said.

As to whether race or other circumstances out of his control has ever hindered or empowered him, Madison said he’s tried to focus on the positives and developing himself as a human being.

“I embrace everything about who I am — what you see and don’t see — and for that, I am positioned to walk this Earth with purpose,” he said.

As Black History Month events are offered at  each campus, Madison hopes they will help students understand African-American history.

“Self-discovery, reflection and a call to action create space for us to dialogue and collaborate as an American people from various cultural walks of life,” Madison said. “That’s the beauty and the power of diversity.”

Editorial – LGBT couples lack V-Day representation

Illustration Aftin Gavin/The Collegian
Illustration Aftin Gavin/The Collegian

While modern-day society likes to boast the idea that love is love, make no mistake, Valentine’s Day is for the straights.

This is not an attack on heterosexuals. Love is absolutely worth celebrating regardless of identity, but the overly commercialized holiday is a problem for everyone who isn’t straight or cisgendered.

Beginning as a Christian appropriation of a Roman holiday before being abolished by a pope in the fifth century, Valentine’s Day was first associated with romantic love in the 14th century in Geoffrey Chaucer’s “Parlement of Foules,” that implied the day was an established tradition.

Since then, the day has evolved to include the exchanging of jewelry, cards and so much more, making February a lucrative month for a number of industries.

According to a survey by the National Retail Federation, Americans plan to spend an average of $143.56 for Valentine’s Day this year.

With the day being so commercialized, it begs the question why so many companies fail to include LGBT individuals in their advertisements. This lack of representation sends a dangerous signal that only “straight love” matters.

Heterosexuals might have a hard time wrapping their heads around the impact this lack of representation has on the LGBT community, but it’s important to consider how ignoring the sizeable LGBT community during Valentine’s Day is another form of discrimination.

This is particularly noteworthy after the legal battle over whether a commercial bakery can refuse to provide a wedding cake to a gay couple.

Unless one goes out of the mainstream to find a gift that acknowledges the existence and experiences of queer people, they’re stuck giving blank or generic cards with puppies on them. And it’s worth asking why, as a society, it’s still more acceptable to see a man chaining up a woman and whipping her on the big screen for Valentine’s Day than two women or two men in love.

LGBT couples are challenged to do the simplest of Valentine’s Day tasks from buying a card to getting a customized gift and even having to explain to a waiter that yes, you’re together, and no, you don’t need separate checks.

On Valentine’s Day, LGBT people are constantly reminded of heterosexual dominance as jewelers launch ads encouraging men to treat the women in their lives and Hallmark marathons 50 different movies featuring the same predictable heterosexual romantic plots but few LGBT films.

It’s a constant bombardment of heteronormativity everywhere you turn.

Everything, including the his-and-hers-themed matching teddy bears and pajama sets, seems to ignore the possibility of relationships that fall outside of straight ones and insists that the only genders that exist are male and female.

For individuals who identify outside of the gender binary, this depiction of love presents additional issues — not only does it exclude any potential relationships they might be involved in, it also dismisses the very existence of their gender identity altogether.

And what’s particularly intriguing is the number of corporations that opposed Texas’ “bathroom bill” — which would have restricted public bathroom use for transgender individuals — because they recognized the LGBT community as significant consumers but don’t incorporate them into Valentine’s Day ad campaigns.

Despite a traditional heterosexual focus, some companies are working to make the day’s narrative a more inclusive one. In January 2017, Lush Cosmetics debuted Valentine’s Day ads depicting same-sex couples using the company’s products, and the greeting card company Hallmark has featured a same-sex couple in their commercials as well.

More companies should follow their lead and make their marketing campaigns and Valentine’s Day products more inclusive.

The LGBT community really isn’t asking for a lot here.

After all, Disney does boast bestiality in a movie, but it’s heterosexual bestiality, so it’s fine.

Viewpoint – Reality of black women not depicted in media

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The Collegian Logo

By Jamil Oakford/managing editor

Nichelle Nichols was the first visible black woman on American television to take a major role on a popular show that wasn’t a maid or a step-and-fetchit character.

It was a sight to see in 1966. But the weird part is it’s still a sight to see 50 years later. Black women in media are rare, and if a black person is cast, it’s typically a black man whose role on a show or in a film can vary dramatically. But black women? Hardly ever.

And when they are? It makes one wish casting directors never bothered.

Black women are typically depicted as single mothers, overwhelmed by misbehaving child(ren), always angry and/or uneducated. It’s an image that doesn’t reflect reality and further proves white men writing black female characters are about as sensible as letting cosmetologists perform root canals.

But some hope is on the horizon for those yearning for real representation for black women in the media.

For starters, Black Panther features a cast filled with black women as T’Challa, the Black Panther, has an all-female royal guard. Not to mention, his sister Shuri is a genius with science and technology and develops high-tech gadgets while keeping Wakanda’s technological advancement far ahead of even Tony Stark’s inventions.

This spring, A Wrinkle in Time will feature a young biracial girl who is smart and interested in science and must find her white father after he’s created a deadly wrinkle in the time-space continuum.

On television, we have Iris West of The Flash, a race-bended character who is poised, a journalist and madly in love with the fastest man in the world. She’s both educated and coherent if she ever has lines to express in anger.

Black Lightning, another DC television show, features the main character’s daughter discovering her powers. Not only is Anissa Pierce smart and powerful, but she’s a black LGBT woman too. That’s untouched territory for mainstream media and a major step in the right direction.

All of this is great development, and we need more.

Black women are multi-dimensional people just like any white male character written or drawn into existence. As soon as Hollywood realizes it, the box office would reflect the celebration of such an awakening.

Viewpoint – Poland oversteps with Holocaust gag order

The Collegian Logo
The Collegian Logo

By Kathryn Kelman/editor-in-chief

Who in their right mind would want to diminish the extent of the brutal crimes of the Holocaust? Apparently, the Polish government.

In July 2017, the Polish Parliament passed the “Holocaust Bill,” formally titled the Amendment to the Act of the Institute of National Remembrance.

Signed by the country’s president Feb. 6, the bill criminalizes any public speech that suggests Poland or the Polish people were complicit in Nazi crimes and authorizes jail time for people convicted of suggesting such.

The Holocaust refers to Nazi Germany’s systematic extermination of 6 million Jews. Other groups, such as communists and gays, were also targeted.

Though the bill still has to go to a constitutional court for review, the world should be concerned that this kind of ideology and Holocaust denial has rekindled to a point where it’s impacting laws of some parts of Europe most greatly affected by the Holocaust.

Poland shouldn’t be allowed to minimize or ignore its role in the extermination of millions of European Jews.

It makes sense Poland didn’t have to pay the same price for World War II as Germany, but its government’s attempt to reword history is wildly concerning. The truth is some Polish citizens did have a hand in Holocaust crimes just like the French military did.

Reminiscent of the “not all men” mentality undermining the feminist movement, this gag order boasts “not all Poles.”

Those saying or thinking “not all Poles” fail to see that heroism and complicity can coexist. And they absolutely do in Poland.

The bill dangerously blocks this contradictory reality and promotes the avoidance of historical responsibility, deflects blame and grants the ownership of World War II “truth” to the Polish government, making more room for Holocaust denial and preventing the exploration of such complexities.

It could also have harmful domestic effects as it paints the country’s Jewish population as a national liability instead of full-fledged Polish citizens who deserve to have their stories told and history preserved, no matter how uncomfortable the truth may be.

It’s been 73 years since Auschwitz was liberated, and it’s past time for Poland stop denying responsibility for the part it played.

Romantic holiday woes, no’s, lows

For the unconventional valentine, cut out one of the non-traditional, free Valentine’s Day card and give to your friends.
For the unconventional valentine, print and cut out one of the non-traditional, free Valentine’s Day cards and give to your friends. Illustration by Suzann Clay/The Collegian

By Jamil Oakford/managing editor

TCC students share Valentine’s Day fails

NW student Justin Lee recalled when one of his Valentine’s Day gifts just wasn’t that romantic.

“I got the bouquet of flowers or whatever, and I went to open the little box message, and it wasn’t my name.” he said.

Valentine’s Day can be filled with all the romance one can imagine, but it can also be a dreadful countdown until the end of the date, and TCC students shared what they consider to be some of their worst Valentine’s Days.

But for Lee, the bad Valentine’s was just beginning.

For the unconventional valentine, print and cut out one of the non-traditional, free Valentine’s Day cards and give to your friends.
For the unconventional valentine, print and cut out one of the non-traditional, free Valentine’s Day cards and give to your friends.
Illustration by Suzann Clay/The Collegian

Once school was done, he went back to his house to ask his boyfriend why he received flowers addressed to a guy named Ethan.

“I was like, ‘Oh, were these for me?’ and he said it was for his brother,” Lee said.

Except, he didn’t have a brother named Ethan.

It was a blatant lie, and Lee took a look at his boyfriend’s phone and found the flower delivery app used. Then, he discovered the crushing blow, he said.

“He had two orders. One of them had my name on it, and the other had Ethan,” Lee said. “He got the addresses mixed up.”

He said it was his worst Valentine’s Day having to deal with that revelation and the breakup that soon followed.

NW student Chloe Clark said her worst Valentine’s experience ended in embarrassment.

For the unconventional valentine, print and cut out one of the non-traditional, free Valentine’s Day cards and give to your friends.
For the unconventional valentine, print and cut out one of the non-traditional, free Valentine’s Day cards and give to your friends.
Illustration by Suzann Clay/The Collegian

“I was talking to this guy in high school, and we thought we were going to date and everybody knew,” she said. “And then on Valentine’s Day, he let me know he wanted to date his ex-girlfriend instead.”

Clark said it was awkward, and she felt embarrassed because so many people knew about his relationship with her.

TR student Jarett Niestroy said while he hasn’t experienced a bad date on Valentine’s Day, the worst date he could think of would be if someone took him to a meaningless place for a vacuous date.

“If they didn’t pay attention to me or it looks like they didn’t put a lot of thought into it, I would be like, ‘Are you serious?’” he said.

Along with ignoring him and not putting enough thought into the date, Niestroy and TR student Ally Nolen both agreed going to a strip club would be a dealbreaker for a date regardless of the day.

For the unconventional valentine, print and cut out one of the non-traditional, free Valentine’s Day cards and give to your friends.
For the unconventional valentine, print and cut out one of the non-traditional, free Valentine’s Day cards and give to your friends.
Illustration by Suzann Clay/The Collegian

“I mean, it’s obviously bad, but I would’ve never agreed to it in the first place,” Nolen said.

Both also agreed that group dates can be sketchy for a romantic date.

“Don’t take them [your date] on a group date especially where they don’t know each other,” Niestroy said. “They did not agree to that. They agreed to come with you.”

Nolen also said sporting events wouldn’t be the best date idea either.

But the two friends diverged when it came to alcohol consumption on a date.

“It should be a sober date, there should be no veils,” Niestroy said.

No one wants to hear that their date can’t remember them because they had wine that night, he said.

Nolen said it’s not a veil, though.

“A couple of drinks is different from like getting wasted,” she said. “Just to loosen the nerves a little. I have a filter problem.”

South student Kristen Alvarez, married for 19 years, doesn’t have too many do’s and don’ts for a date, but she said she couldn’t imagine a Valentine’s Day without a card.

“I’ll take the card,” she said. “He doesn’t even have to get the chocolates. Just don’t forget the card.”

The lack of chocolate will keep her from eating something she shouldn’t, she said.

“We’re still recovering from Christmas cookies, right?” she said.

For the unconventional valentine, print and cut out one of the non-traditional, free Valentine’s Day cards and give to your friends.
For the unconventional valentine, print and cut out one of the non-traditional, free Valentine’s Day cards and give to your friends.
Illustration by Suzann Clay/The Collegian

For NW student Jacob Davidson, every Valentine’s Day has been less than savory.

“Every Valentine’s is the worst if you don’t have a date on Valentine’s,” he said.

Although the date might be an important aspect for some, TR student Yasmyne Webb said it’s not all that important.

“As long as he put effort in during the day, it’s OK if the date isn’t all that special or enjoyable,” she said. “If he doesn’t say anything or if he doesn’t at least acknowledge that it’s Valentine’s Day, I’d have a bigger problem with that.”

Fair to highlight maker movement

Last year’s Fab Now Maker Conference attendees test out a hover chair. Students and small business developers will showcase experiments and creations.
Last year’s Fab Now Maker Conference attendees test out a hover chair. Students and small business developers will showcase experiments and creations. Photo courtesy Danelle Toups

By Shannon O’Brien/reporter

TR Campus is hosting the Fab Now maker conference Feb. 16-17 that provides a collaborative environment for educators, craftspeople, students and small business developers to showcase their creations and experience hands-on demonstrations.

The maker movement gives priority to active learning in a social environment. Learning through doing rather than learning through seeing has come to be more helpful for people.

“Fab Now is all about the chancellor’s goal #3: ‘Serve the Community,’” TR humanities dean Scott Robinson said. “In this case, it’s the maker community.”

Among many of the creations attendees can see at the conference is a programmable controller system. TR Campus will host this year’s Fab Now conference Feb. 16-17.
Among many of the creations attendees can see at the conference is a programmable controller system. TR Campus will host this year’s Fab Now conference Feb. 16-17.
Photo courtesy Danelle Toups

On Feb. 16, a workshop called A Day of Maker Ed will go from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. for educators and librarians who might want to introduce a “maker space” in their community.

The expo Feb. 17 will include booths with demonstrations of projects built from elementary school students, 3-D printing, circuitry and more from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. An afterparty takes place that night at HopFusion Ale Works at 200 E. Broadway Ave. in Fort Worth. The first-come, first-served private party will be located in the tap room and include a full tour of the brewery.

“During the expo on Saturday, we have different panels. Each of the panels will cover different topics,” said TR library services assistant director Danelle Toups. “From hackers’ panels to students talking with engineers, 3-D printing, everything about making, we will have.”

Using a pen and various other materials, participants in the expo created a robot that can draw. At the event, attendees can view booths for projects, demonstrations included.
Using a pen and various other materials, participants in the expo created a robot that can draw. At the event, attendees can view booths for projects, demonstrations included.
Photo courtesy Danelle Toups

The purpose of maker spaces is to allow people to make, create and invent new things. In 2013, Chicago Public Library released a report about high-school-age users of YOUmedia that listed the effects maker spaces had in their library. Students had improved academic, communication and writing skills, got a better understanding of opportunities after high school and felt safer in the community, the report said.

“To try and get more students, I’ve partnered with the technology department on our campus, so what that allows us to do is work with technology using a computerized drafting system,” said South art associate professor Paul Benero, who will present at the fair. “So, my students design rings, necklaces and bracelets, and they sketch them with sizes. We then give them to the CAD [computer-aided design] students who put them in the programming language necessary to print through these 3-D models.”

The conference is free. Students can register at txmakersguild.org.