by Jeremias Ezequiel Morales Garcia, UVG-Altiplano Department of Engineering

A mini robot made in the Makerspace

When I was in elementary school, my music teacher showed us a trumpet. It was just an ordinary trumpet, but as soon as I saw it, I wanted to explore it as a piece of musical machinery. I wanted to pick it up and play it. It seemed like such an amazing tool! This kind of curiosity had been a constant throughout my life. 

Building a mini robot

My parents are school teachers in the town of Totonicopán, which is located in the department of Quiché, which is known for its natural beauty, surrounded by the highest mountain range in Central America and covered in oak-pine forests that are unique to the region. Although many people speak Spanish, the majority speak the Mayan language “Quiché.” I consider myself to be Quiché, an indigenous ethnic group in Guatemala that is shaped by our language, cultural traditions, rural landscapes, clay sculptures, and humble people. None of my grandparents knew how to read or write. However they knew education was the best investment in the future. They worked hard and made many sacrifices so that my parents could go to school. My parents’ education proved transformative for our family. They became teachers and in turn sent my siblings and me to school.

A young community member experiments in the Makerspace.

Growing up, I looked forward to going to school. I wasn’t afraid to share my ideas with my teacher, who always supported my creativity. I studied electronics in high school, where I was able to explore how things were constructed. I spent hours taking apart electronic equipment like radios, repurposing their parts to build things like toy cars. Here at UVG, I studied mechanical engineering and completed an internship at an amusement park where I worked on the maintenance of the electromechanical rides.  

Looking back, you could say that my first makerspace experience was in my own garage, where I repaired televisions, sound equipment, and power outlets. However it was here at UVG that my true makerspace experience began, and I’ve had the opportunity to bring my ideas to life using design programs, technology, and industrial machinery.

Create. Invent. Question. Learn.

I now oversee the UVG’s Altiplano Campus makerspace. I’ve had the privilege and pleasure of facilitating and enriching the ideas of students and community members exploring in the space. I foster creativity and growth in others as my teachers once did for me.  

The UVG maker community is learning to solve local problems through an iterative, collaborative process, exploring ideas through the creation of prototypes. We consider the environmental impact of our projects, reusing materials in order to reduce waste and contamination. More importantly, as a creative collective, we are giving students, faculty, staff, and local residents the opportunity to innovate and contribute to the development of our community and ultimately to the country of Guatemala.