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Innovation Floor in New Building Off to Fast Start

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Ritchie School Communications Team

Students work in innovation lab

The new Engineering and Computer Science building opened this past fall for the 2016-2017 and had its official grand opening over homecoming in October. Since that time, students, staff and faculty have enjoyed the use of a unique space on the first floor of the new building called the Innovation Floor.

The Innovation Floor is an interdisciplinary project-based, co-working space comprised of an incubator, innovation lab, and event space within the Ritchie School of Engineering and Computer Science.

Designed to be open-access serving DU faculty, students, staff, alumni and the surrounding community, the Innovation Floor is managed by Mike Caston. Previously an assistant professor of Industrial Design at Metropolitan State University in Denver, Caston holds a Master Degree in Industrial Design from North Carolina State University and has operated a product and graphic design firm for the past decade.

Since January, the Innovation Floor has engaged the DU community by offering over 25 free workshops ranging from laser engraving and 3D printing to industrial sewing. As DU builds its reputation as a partner in innovation and entrepreneurship in the Denver community, Caston has collaborated with over 10 DU organizations and 10 community organizations with additional partnerships in development. Additionally, the Innovation Floor has played a critical role in helping to launch or develop five student businesses.

When asked what his goals are for the Innovation Floor in the weeks and months ahead, Caston said he plans to “continue reaching out to all DU students, faculty and staff to bring awareness around and provide resources for creative projects, STEM-based learning opportunities, collaborative co-working and entrepreneurial ventures.”

In addition, Caston aims to extend existing Innovation Floor offerings to DU Alumni and the surrounding Denver and Front Range community, form a student-run “Maker Club” for operations and develop a DU Innovation Center offering interdisciplinary services to the surrounding community and facilitate entrepreneurial ventures.