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UWF Innovation Institute awards elementary class with New Matter MOD-t 3D printer

The University of West Florida Innovation Institute and FloridaShines awarded Cassie Mense’s fourth-grade class at Myrtle Grove Elementary School with a New Matter MOD-t 3D printer today for winning FloridaShines’ first 3D printing contest.

Mense gave her students the assignment to research engineers who had made a significant contribution to science and to create and print a model of that person. The winning entry was a model of NASA/JPL Engineer Bobak Ferdowski. Ferdowski caught the attention of the world during the landing of the Curiosity rover on Mars.

“At the Institute, we focus on areas of high social importance, with a particular emphasis on education, to explore, design, prototype and deliver innovation for education and learning,” said Dr. Karen Rasmussen, assistant provost and chief academic strategist at the UWF Innovation Institute. “That is why we hosted the contest. Besides it being tons of fun, 3D design and printing can help students learn to think differently, be creative and achieve goals through experimentation and step-by-step improvement.”

Other winners in the K-12 division include Austin Ryan Clary, for his “Pyramid of Giza” puzzle, which earned second place. The winners in the state college division came from Pensacola State. The first-place prize of 3D printing software was awarded to a group of robotics students for a robotic pancake ladle, and the second place was a tie between Todd Moody for an antenna fixture and Jacob Lee Underwood for an automatic closet light. Third place went to a group of carpentry students for a model of a tiny house.

“At New Matter, we’re constantly striving to make 3D printing more accessible for educators and their students and we’re thrilled to donate a MOD-t to FloridaShines for their exciting contest,” said Steve Schell, co-founder and chief executive officer at New Matter. “We’re eager to see how the students at Myrtle Grove Elementary School use their new MOD-t, and we’re looking forward to supporting them as they begin the next leg of their educational journey.”

In the fall of 2016, the Institute and FloridaShines hosted the statewide 3D printing contest for Florida students of all ages. The contest was open to all currently enrolled students at Florida’s public, private, charter and home schools, ranging from kindergarten to graduate school. All entries will be added to the 3D model collection in the Florida Orange Grove open educational resource repository. The Orange Grove is Florida’s digital repository for instructional resources. The repository provides an environment for educators to search for, use, remix, share and contribute educational resources.

For a full list of winners, visit