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'Makerspace' Idea Looks to Spark Public Interest and Inspiration

Nicci Nunes, a local mother, has a dream to provide a place for children to be inspired by math and science.

Nicci Nunes has this little idea that children can be just as inspired by math and science as they can by arts and literature.

Nunes' idea is to create a place where children can gain knowledge in ways that inspire them to want to create and be creative. She's calling it "Benicia Makerspace".

"I want to able to inspire or empower people, making people more in charge of their learning and making it more accessible," said Nunes.

Right now Nunes seeks pledges to get Makerspace off the ground. She created a KickStarter website, seeking public donations. According to the site, in order to furnish the business, she will need to procure at least $30,000. With whatever is left over will go toward the purchase of other useful items such as, "a computer lab (to teach AutoCAD, phtoshop, and computer programming), a laser cutter, and a 3D printer. So for the site has received $1,630 with 14 days left to collect the rest.

The idea for Makerspace came from a two sources of inspiration, Nunes said: her two sons. After determining her sons were not receiving the practical application she felt they needed in their science and math classes, she got to work on the idea. She had heard about the success of Maker Faire in San Mateo and how it had expanded to other regions like Detroit and New York, and the idea began to grow.

Nunes is no stranger to learning and teaching, either. She holds a PhD in chemistry, is credentialed science teacher and taught physics and chemistry for 10 years. She developed a teacher credential program for UC Berkeley for math, science and engineering undergrads which she also taught.

Though cautiously optimistic she can raise the necessary funds, should she fail to raise the necessary funds, the money will go back to its donor. In that event, Nunes will seek out grants and local business sponsorship.

According to the KickStarter site, Nunes says, "Until the space is launched and things get going, it is difficult to predict the level of customer support."

"It will take time to fully stock the materials, supplies, tools and equipment for the Makerspace, so initially it will start with some basics and grow from there."

For more information about Nunes' initiative, check out her KickStarter page, which can be found here. You can also go to Benicia Makerspace website, which provides more information about Nunes' background and more details about where she came up with her idea.

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