Cole Belmont recently joined the Union community as its first director of the Makerspace consortium.
Reporting directly to the dean of Academic Departments and Programs, he is responsible for leading the growth of the maker culture at the College. He will provide creative and strategic leadership for the redesign and renovation of student-driven, interdisciplinary Makerspaces that include a variety of digital fabrication tools (laser cutters, milling machines, 3D printers, woodworking tools, electronic bench supplies and computers).
He will also hire, train, supervise and mentor an interdisciplinary group of students tasked with daily operation of the campus Makerspaces.
Belmont will teach courses, oversee independent studies and lead workshops, events and initiatives with faculty.
Hometown: Fort Myers, Fla. Belmont has also lived in San Antonio, Texas, Albuquerque, N.M., and Albany, and Brooklyn, N.Y.
Education: Master's degree in architecture and urban design, Pratt Institute, 2010 (Brooklyn), bachelor of arts in architecture (minor in studio art), University of New Mexico, 2003 (Albuquerque)
Before Union: I was an educator and architectural designer specializing in technology integration and digital fabrication. I was working as a manager of several student-run academic production facilities at Pratt and operations manager of the Consortium for Research & Robotics (a research center within the Pratt Institute). I am both a practitioner and educator working on my own research and helping to facilitate the research and work of other professionals and students.
Hobbies: Tinkering, woodworking, drawing/sketching, building, making
Why Union: Several years ago I became focused in interdisciplinary work specifically surrounding education and the integration of technology and fabrication tools. The small, cross-pollinated liberal arts setting at Union combined with the emerging nature of the advanced fabrication technologies housed on campus made it an exciting place to get involved.
What do you see as your role? There is a wealth of energy, passion and expertise on campus that I would like to tap into. My goal is to make more technologies and tools more accessible to more students and faculty, and to help add to an already robust student and faculty experience.
How will your background in architecture translate to your new position?
Architecture at its core is about problem solving and collaboration. Every architectural project or proposal I have worked on both professionally and as an academic was as a part of an interdisciplinary team working to create innovative solutions to complex problems. This experience and way of working combined with the knowledge I have built around fabricating, making, integrating tools and educating others will help me to better understand the nature of the work, the culture and the community at Union.
What are your expectations for students and faculty to use the space? I am excited to expand the tools, the access systems, and the organization and structure of the Maker Web Consortium. I’m also eager to see the breadth of ideas and applications the students and faculty come to explore. My biggest expectation is for everyone to approach the space with passion and interest to know more.