Planning for the Future

Vector Space takes knowledge & skills beyond the classroom.

“When will I ever use this as an adult?” Sound familiar? Maybe you said it to your own parents years ago. Maybe you’re hearing it echoed from your child now. It’s not an easy question to answer, especially when the devices we carry in our pockets do a lot of our thinking for us.

Students, like their parents, are increasingly relying on cell phones and tablets to discover, create, and enjoy groundbreaking innovations. Unfortunately, even as technology advances, educational opportunities for middle and high school students have struggled to keep up throughout the country. 

In Lynchburg, the folks behind Vector Space are doing their part to change that. Their 8,000 square foot space provides a home for individuals and groups to work with tools and equipment to build a variety of different products from the fields of woodworking, metalworking, textiles, electronics, computers, and prototyping. This spring, their partnership with The Best Buy Foundation will also increase the resources for teenagers who are interested in learning how different subjects, specifically fashion, can merge with technological advances to create promising employment opportunities. 

Beginning in January, ten teens will enroll in a six-week class at Vector Space that will introduce them to hand sewing, machine sewing, soldering, and garment design, as well as electronics and computer programming. Classes will meet two evenings per week in January and February, and will be lead by two instructors, and engineer, and a fashion designer. The program, sponsored by Best Buy, will culminate in a public fashion show at Randolph College on March 24, 2019 at the Lynchburg Mini Maker Faire. 

“Textiles and electronics are really still at the beginning stages of coming together. There is a lot to be explored, a lot of creative ways we can merge these two fields,” says Adam Spontarelli, Director of Education at Vector Space. “This is not just the first fashion and tech class in Lynchburg, it is cutting edge in both industries.”

A goal of this project is to introduce young women to computer programming. It’s hard to believe, but even in 2019, there are less women than men in computer science fields. Both organizations hope to help reduce the barriers for women and emphasize computer science skills for females during their middle and high school years. 

Community support is vital, because every piece of the puzzle matters as young people begin to understand how what they are learning will apply to the real world in just a few short years. With the dedication that students put into their work at Vector Space, the future of fashion, engineering, and computer science is promising—and so is the impact on our region.

“This is our third annual event,” says Elise Spontarelli, Lynchburg Mini Maker Faire Producer. “World Maker Faire added a Fashion Show in 2018, and I am thrilled to have our own fashion feature at Lynchburg Mini Maker Faire.”

For more information on how your child can get involved, and the membership and classes offered at Vector Space, visit www.vector-space.org/fashion.

Written by Hayleigh Worgan