By Amy Karagiannakis
Magann Dykema is committed to spreading a culture of innovation across the Michigan Tech campus. A University Innovation Fellow (UIF) since 2015, Magann is always looking for new opportunities to engage Tech students in innovation, entrepreneurship, design thinking and creativity. Fellows work to ensure that their peers gain the knowledge, skills and attitudes required to make a positive impact on the world. Magann’s biggest and most impactful project on Tech’s campus is #uifresh which introduces incoming first-year students to innovation and the entrepreneurial mindset. To date, Michigan Tech’s University Innovation Fellows have engaged with over 4000 incoming first-year students through orientation, exposing them early on to powerful entrepreneurial tools and resources.
Have you visited the Alley yet? The space where the old Michigan Tech bowling alley used to reside was completely redesigned and repurposed to create an open-community workshop incorporating elements of machine shops, wood shops, art studios and computer labs where Michigan Tech students, faculty, and staff can come together to share resources and knowledge to build and make things. Magann is currently the Alley Student Director and collaborated on the design and creation of the new makerspace back in the fall of 2015. Magann worked with Pavlis alum Brad Turner to incorporate a design thinking process to turn an old bowling alley into a multi-functional makerspace that the entire University community could benefit from. The Alley currently has tools and equipment available to use for 3D printing, woodworking, electronics, crafting, and sewing, but Magann hopes to expand these offerings through more donors and sponsorship. The Alley and its associated events and activities are completely student led and student driven. The student team also offers classes, seminars, and workshops. Their mission: to create an environment where everyone in the Michigan Tech community is encouraged and supported by providing a welcoming space, learning opportunities, a maker network, and resources.
Last summer, Magann traveled to Brazil to pilot the new Belem site for the Global Leadership pathway in the Pavlis Honors College. Her team’s goal on this initial trip was to determine the needs of the Belem people and develop sustainable solutions that the local community would support. Over five weeks, Magann and her team were able to establish a network of contacts in Brazil, as well as a plethora of resources to aid the next Pavlis team that travels to Belem. Project opportunities for future Pavlis cohorts include stormwater management, English language and STEM education classes, and alternative energy using biofuels. The work and documentation that Magann and her team completed over these initial five weeks in Brazil laid the groundwork for future Pavlis teams to continue to help the people of Belem.
Magann hails from Norton Shores, MI and is in her fourth year at Michigan Tech. While her focus is in water resources as a Civil Engineering major, her passion is teaching design thinking. IDEO CEO, Tim Brown describes this methodology and mindset, “Design Thinking draws upon logic, imagination, intuition, and systemic reasoning, to explore possibilities of what could be—and to create desired outcomes that match people’s needs with what is technologically feasible and what a viable business strategy can convert into customer value and market opportunity.” Magann has also been an integral part in helping get the new Innovation Center for Entrepreneurship (ICE) established at Michigan Tech. Director of Global Leadership and Co-Director of the Innovation Center for Entrepreneurship, Mary Raber stated, “Magann has really embraced the intent of the Pavlis Honors College by taking advantage of all that Michigan Tech has to offer in order to gain the most from her educational experience. Participating in the University Innovation Fellows program, spending five weeks living and working in Brazil through the Global Leadership pathway, and helping to lead the new makerspace, are just a few of the ways Magann is making a lasting impact at Tech.”
Having attended Tech’s Summer Youth Program (SYP) in 2012 and 2013 as a high school student, Magann wanted to give back by becoming an SYP counselor herself. Working for the Innovation Center for Entrepreneurship and in collaboration with SYP, Magann developed and taught a design thinking-related summer camp called World of Design. Through the success of this initiative, Magann was also able to offer after-school classes to elementary and middle school-aged children called Discovering Your Creative Confidence and Inner Maker. Magann is the Vice President of MUB Board and was recently crowned Homecoming Royalty. Magann is an avid bowler, a diehard Detroit Tigers fan, and loves exploring the outdoors.