By Erik Gomez, Voiland College of Engineering & Architecture intern

PULLMAN, Wash. – Micah Peyron wanted a longboard skateboard. But, instead of buying one, she made it.

Now, she and other students are teaching each other important skills for their own projects – such as how to use band saws, sanders, drills, laser cutters and 3-D printers – through the Frank Innovation Zone (https://vcea.wsu.edu/fiz/) hands-on learning space at Washington State University.

A student sands her longboard during a pop-up class.

Peyron learned about FIZ through her husband, Louis Peyron, a senior in mechanical engineering. When she saw some of the cool, do-it-yourself projects that other students were creating, she wanted to join in.

The FIZ provides WSU students from any major with space and equipment for hands-on activities that are not found in the typical curriculum – as long as they adhere to the strict safety conditions. The Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture’s Executive Leadership Board provides financial support for materials and equipment.

A longboard is a longer, typically faster version of a skateboard.

“At first I was scared to attempt building my own board just because I have always had a fear for woodworking,” said Micah Peyron. “That is mainly the reason I picked this project – I wanted to become familiar with the tools and see what amazing projects I could create. I will say my board turned out way better than I could have ever imagined.”

Soon after she built her longboard, Peyron was asked by Kirk Reinkens, FIZ director, to teach a four-week pop-up class. These short workshops let students teach each other hands-on skills and information about equipment, including standard woodshop tools, for their own projects. The students don’t receive college credit, but they are given the chance to learn design thinking and skills.

Student Kierra Rust works on her longboard.

A total of 14 students participated in Peyron’s workshop.

“There was so much innovation happening,” she said. “It was great seeing so many different shapes and styles being put into the longboards.

“This was the perfect opportunity to have students get familiar with our woodshop and with our makerspace,” she added.

The Peyrons will teach the class again this semester. Open to all majors, the workshop requires a $40 fee.

To learn more about the FIZ or find or suggest pop-up classes, visit the FIZ Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/FIZ.ENG/ or contact Reinkens at reinkens@wsu.edu.