Texas State facilities offer hands-on resources to all majors

Texas State University has a catalog of courses in a broad range of majors and concentrations, but students who are looking for experience outside of the classroom must find those opportunities on their own.

Many school departments are staffed by undergraduates and grad-students who seek major-related job experience. However, students who don’t qualify for work-study, or have little time for it, must still find a means to gain experience for their resume.

Established in 2020, the MakerSpace on the first floor of the Alkek Library is a workshop that has high-tech machinery that students and even working professionals likely don’t have at home. Metalworking equipment is on site, as they have soldering stations, CNC routers, laser cutters, and a water jet. For students who like to work with fabric, sewing machines, embroidery machines, and an inkjet press are available. No prior experience is necessary, students can book a training session time-slot to become familiar with what they went to use. All of the equipment is free to use, and materials like 3D printing filament, wood and sheet metal are available for purchase at-cost. It is highly recommended that students learn to use Adobe Illustrator, because most of the equipment requires vector path instructions to operate.

William Cates, manager of the Alkek One MakerSpace, says that some people change their major because they find something that they’re interested in, or they realize that they don’t like what they were studying at all. Cates is an Austin Community College graduate with a robotics degree, and even he tinkers with the equipment to find new ways to use them.

“We have students from everywhere,” said Cates. “The retention here is fantastic, and the only reason some students stop coming as often is because they have a full course load over the semester. But then they come back after four months with all of these projects they want to get started on.”

Elizabeth Hambleton is an audio specialist who runs workshops for students to learn to use the Adobe Suite, a critical skill that some majors only skim through.

The Joann Cole Mitte building for the school of art and design houses a plethora of spaces for students to work as they concentrate in studio arts like ceramics, drawing, printmaking and more. The study abroad program, open to all majors, is going to Florence, Italy in 2023. Attendees who complete the coursework gain their foreign language credits and an art history credit.

Once a student takes a class in a particular field, they retain access to the equipment they learned to use. The printmaking room features etching presses, paint and storage for paper prints. Jeff Dell, professor of the printmaking class, says that the class is useful for designers K-12 educators, and commercial shirt shops.

“‘You should to art school because it makes life more meaningful,'” said Dell. “My mom told me that.”

For students who only want to dabble in the arts, joining a club is an approach they can take to learn what they want without risking a GPA dip. As of 2022, there is a photography club, metals club and sculpture club among others. Flyers are posted in building entryways and many all of them have a social media page. Bekah Porter, teacher’s assistant for the upper-level sculpture classes, said joining a club will get you closer to professors who are exited to help students with their work.

Students have great perks included in their tuition outside of the obvious free gym and library book rentals. A breakdown of the 2022 semester tuition fees show upwards of $3,00 go towards other expenses. New clubs pop up often while others die out, so it does take some asking around to find group leaders and communities of go-getters, but most fields of study are covered by the official student organizations website. If a club is unlisted, a student can apply to create their own organization in which they will be supplemented by a team of officers who seek the same sort of community.

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