FAMU Opens Fab Lab To Encourage Creativity and Entrepreneurship

April 03, 2024
Fab Lab Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
FAMU Opens Fab Lab To Encourage Creativity and Entrepreneurship

Florida A&M University (FAMU), in collaboration with the Chevron Corporation and the Fab Foundation on Friday, March 29 officially opened their state-of-the-art Fab Lab

Located in the FAMU College of Education Gore Complex, the FAMU STR2EAM (Science, Technology, Reading, Research, Engineering, Arts and Math) Innovation Fab Lab was established through a collaboration between Chevron, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Fab Foundation. The initiative marks a significant step toward advancing STEM education, research, and innovation for k-12 students, FAMU students and people in the wider Tallahassee community.

The lab occupies two rooms and is outfitted with computers and advanced manufacturing tools that enable users to creatively work on wood, fabric, and other types of material.

After he toured the Fab Lab, FAMU President Larry Robinson, Ph.D., lauded the facility’s potential educational impact on students.

“It’s going to heighten their commitment and interest in learning. How could you not when you walk through there,” Robinson said. “As a scientist, my nerve-endings are aflame right now. If I were a student, they would have to tie me down. I’m assuming students today would have that same type of inspiration and excitement when they walk into the lab.”

Fab Lab Manager Alejandro Gonzalez tells visitors about projects they can complete in the new facility.(Credit: Glenn Beil)

Fab Lab Manager Alejandro Gonzalez tells visitors about projects they can complete in the new facility.(Credit: Glenn Beil)


The Fab Lab’s aim is to provide students, faculty, and the broader community with state-of-the-art technology and resources to foster creativity, hands-on learning experiences, and entrepreneurial skills.

FAMU Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Allyson Watson, Ph.D., who was College of Education dean when the Fab Lab was first proposed, spoke about her personal and professional attachment to the project and what it meant to see it come to fruition.

“Being at the helm of this vision and seeing it come to reality is so dynamically profound as a leader,” Watson said. “FAMU is a beacon of hope, and the Fab Lab signifies the innovative ways that we are committed to moving our university forward to cause economic, educational, and social change within the communities we serve.”

The FAMU STR2EAM Innovation Fab Lab has 3D printing capabilities.


Through the strategic partnership with the Fab Foundation, a leader in digital fabrication and STEM education, FAMU STR2EAM Innovation Fab Lab is expanding access to advanced manufacturing tools and technologies that are shaping the future workforce.

“We are thrilled to expand our partnership with the Fab Foundation to bring Chevron Fab Labs to FAMU,” said Jennifer Michael, Chevron Social Investment manager. “These labs will serve as innovation hubs to empower individuals to harness their creative potential, develop essential STEM skills, and contribute to building a more sustainable and inclusive future. At Chevron, we strive to empower people around the world to achieve their aspirations and meet their full potential. Our partnerships across the globe aim to advance progress and strengthen communities.”

The Fab Lab will feature state-of-the-art equipment such as 3D printers, laser cutters, and electronics workstations. Students and community members will have the opportunity to engage in a wide range of activities, including prototyping, digital design, coding, robotics, and more. By providing access to these resources, the Fab Lab is empowering individuals to explore new ideas, collaborate on interdisciplinary projects, and drive impactful solutions to real-world challenges.

“Historically Black Colleagues and Universities are critically important anchors in our U.S. communities, bringing higher education and economic opportunity to individuals who have historically been excluded.  They have produced many of this country’s greatest scientists, mathematicians, politicians, advocates for social change and thought leaders,” said President/CEO of the Fab Foundation Sherry Lassiter.  “We are so very excited to be working with FAMU to add to their incredible educational portfolios access to advanced technical tools and education such that their students and communities can participate in creating their own technologies and designing our shared future.”  

The FAMU facility is one of more than 1,200 fab labs located around the globe. Chevron-supported fab labs include facilities in: Bakersfield, Richmond, Santa Clara and Central Coast, California; New Orleans, Louisiana; Pascagoula, Mississippi; Houston and Odessa/Midland, Texas. These labs have served thousands of community members.

FAMU and Fort Valley State University are the only two HBCUs to host a fab lab. The lab will be staffed by Director David White, Ph.D., and Fab Lab manager Alejandro Gonzalez, along with graduate and undergraduate students. The proposed operating hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays. The Fab Lab is open to the public. White said an open house is planned for this summer.

“It’s been a long journey. We started this process two years ago, almost to the day. And to have it finally culminate in this beautiful event is just awesome,” said White, a distinguished professor in the College of Education. “To be able to offer this to the community is just phenomenal. And I love that the students have bought into it. A lot of them are coming in.”