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3D printing workshop kicks participants’ imaginations into gear at NTU’s Zuni instructional site

Mykl Greene assists Tina Bowannie design a house in TinkerCAD during the two-day 3D printing camps hosted by KARMA at NTU’s instructional site in Zuni, NM.

Zuni, NM – On June 27, 2019 the Ke’yah Advanced Rural Manufacturing Alliance (KARMA) hosted a two-day 3D printing workshop at Navajo Technical University’s instructional site in Zuni, NM at the A:shiwi College and Readiness Center. Attendees of the workshop were able to learn the mechanics of a 3D printer and utilize 3D modeling software to design and construct fabricated models.

The workshop was conducted by Mykl Greene, a teacher at St. Michaels Indian School in St. Michaels, AZ. Greene has been active in KARMA’s 3D summer camps and Innoventure projects for over two years in collaboration with NTU and St. Bonaventure School in Thoreau, NM. In addition to his involvement in camps, Green also conducts his own workshops, where his message is simple: be creative.

“Design on your own. Have some fun. Figure it out,” explained Greene, who had 120 kids sign an interest list for this year’s KARMA’s 3D printing summer camp, which overlapped with the Zuni workshop. “As teachers, we think we have to schedule every minute, but we need to open it up.”

As part of the workshop, participants were introduced to the design software, TinkerCAD, and its application in the 3D printing process. Participants were also introduced to the functions of a 3D printer, and how advanced manufacturing could be used by entrepreneurs.

Danielle Mahkee of Zuni, NM listens to instructions as she designed 3D Star Wars prints. As part of the camp, Mahkee designed a car, a two story house, a Death Star, R2D2, and the Imperial Star Destroyer.

“KARMA’s goal is to engage the community about the capabilities of 3D printing technology and how it can play a role in economic development initiatives in rural communities,” stated Lavern Moore, KARMA outreach coordinator. Moore noted how KARMA is focused on getting parents involved and developed educational pathways for students from high school to college and career.

Hayes Lewis, Director of the A:shiwi College and Readiness Center, was excited for the workshop to be hosted at NTU’s newest instructional site, which attracted 14 total participants ranging from middle school aged to college. Lewis has plans of establishing a creative arts and entrepreneurship program at the instructional site that the community and K-12 schools could utilize.

“We discussed the KARMA project with Dr. Ben Jones, Tom Savoca and Laverne Moore of Navajo Technical University and thought it would be a good way to generate some interest in the STEM programs,” explained Lewis, who served as Director for the Center for Lifelong Education and adjunct instructor for ten years at the Institute of American Indian Arts prior to serving as the Superintendent of Schools at Zuni from 2012-2016. Now, as Director of A:shiwi College & Career Readiness Center he stated, “The school district needs to incorporate hands-on realistic sciences that that involves skills development and critical thinking to meet today’s needs and tomorrow’s promise.”

Lewis was excited to see a diverse age range attend the workshop and hopes their excitement will build momentum into creating job opportunities around advanced manufacturing. “I think this is something that as they progress through the program, [students] can generate their own career path to become acquainted with work in technology areas, maybe even manufacturing like NTU is looking at,” continued Lewis. “There are jobs out there and other careers options. This gives them a really good orientation to the process.”

For more information about Ke’yah Advanced Rural Manufacturing Alliance (KARMA) contact Lavern Moore at or call (505) 905 7813.