Project Info

Student led initiative to enhance diversity and inclusion in the Labriola Innovation Hub

Aubrey Wigner

Project Goals and Description:

Sense of belonging is vital to the success of engineering students during their academic journey. At Mines, nearly all students will start their journey in Cornerstone Design, a class that will be deeply integrated into the Labriola Innovation Hub starting in the 2023-24 academic year. By creating a welcoming and inclusive space that ties deeply into students’ first year at Mines, we hope to increase retention and recruitment rates, particularly for traditionally underserved students. During the course of this project, student research assistants will help engage with their fellow students as stakeholders in the creation of best practices leading to a diverse and inclusive culture in the new Labriola Innovation Hub. By discovering what student stakeholder groups value and expect of an inclusive maker/innovation space we will be able to directly influence how students navigate, learn, grow, socialize, and enhance their engineering identity through their involvement in the university’s flagship innovation space. The primary audience for this research will be the director and upper administration in charge of the Labriola Innovation Hub. Further, this research will be documented and detailed as part of an academic paper to be disseminated through an American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) or International Symposium on Academic Makerspaces (ISAM) annual conference. The lead researcher for this project is the current Coordinator for the Labriola Innovation Hub, Dr. Aubrey Wigner, who will work closely with the students.

More Information:

Grand Challenge: Advance personalized learning.
Labriola Innovation Hub Home Page - Wilczynski, V., Wigner, A., Lande, M., & Jordan, S. (2017). The value of higher education academic makerspaces for accreditation and beyond. Planning for Higher Education, 46(1), 32-40. Full text of the above article is available via Mines library or via the author, Aubrey Wigner (

Primary Contacts:

Aubrey Wigner, | Dean Nieusma,

Student Preparation


Students should be interested in creating inclusive and diverse spaces on the Mines campus. This position will require a substantial amount of interaction between other students and stakeholders. Prior or current involvement with diversity and inclusion focused organizations (SWE, MEP, DI&A initiatives, etc.) will be very useful, but is not required. This research position will be active, involve substantial data collection through interviews and discussions, and require the student to become familiar with qualitative research methods. The project lead will be happy to mentor students along the way, so no prior research experience in this area is required, just a willingness to engage deeply with the campus community.


3-5 hours per week.


The student will gain substantial skill in conducting one on one interviews, collecting qualitative data, and proposing change on an organizational level. The student will also gain great familiarity with the Labriola Innovation Hub as a space for education and for individualized learning and making.


The student will receive regular mentoring on qualitative data collection and analysis methodology, professional communication skills, and mapping out organizations. We will meet for one hour per week to plan and compile data. If the student is interested in working additional hours, funds may be available from the PI. While the student won't be working directly within a lab, understanding Mines lab safety culture is vital for understanding the Innovation Hub's operations. As a result, they will be required to attend, or have previously attended, the basic lab safety training.


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