Youth Camp promotes Science, Innovation, & Making at Navajo Technical University

Camp leader Tex Yazzie helps a student design a smart phone cover in the free software program TinkerCad. Yazzie lead the inaugural Navajo Maker Summer Camp, June 5-9, 2017, at Navajo Technical University in an effort to spark interest among the youth around advanced manufacturing technology and processes.

Published June 14, 2017

CROWNPOINT, NEW MEXICO – From June 5-9, 2017, Navajo Technical University hosted the inaugural Navajo Maker Summer Camp where middle school and high school students from throughout the region came together to engage in learning activities involving advanced manufacturing technology and processes, such as 3D printing and modeling.

The camp was a result of a partnership between the Kellogg Advance Rural Manufacturing Alliance (KARMA), Navajo Technical University’s Center for Digital Technologies (CDT), and the Indiana-based companies, 1st Maker Space and STEM Consulting, where each entity sought to engage the next generation of artists, engineers, and inventors over 3D technology and innovation.

Camp participant from Crownpoint Middle School fixes a propeller he printed for a racecar he created as part of the Navajo Maker Summer Camp.

As part of the camp experience, attendees developed an understanding of 3D printing techniques, and the ability to create and design printable 3D models using computer software programs like TinkerCad. Participants spent the week learning the process of design and applied their knowledge to engineer race cars equipped with propellers and custom made wheels. Students also designed their own inventions for smart phone accessories like cases.

“It was a success,” exclaimed camp leader Tex Yazzie, who is a science and social studies teacher at St. Bonaventure Elementary in Thoreau, NM. “They printed their own projects. Everyone laughed; everyone had fun. I think it went great.”

The camp was part of NTU’s larger initiative to begin developing career pathways for K-12 students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematic fields for purposes of securing financially stable futures. Advanced manufacturing industries such as metrology, robotics, and engineering have been identified as crucial careers of the 21st Century. In offering a youth summer camp involving 3D printing and making, NTU hopes to foster in the next generation of manufacturers and entrepreneurs.

From June 5-9, Navajo Technical University hosted a Navajo Maker Summer Camp where middle school and high school students from throughout the region came together to learn about 3D printing and modeling. The next Navajo Maker Summer Camp session will run from June 19-23, 2017.

“These kids are our future. They’re the ones who will be leading us. They’re the ones who will be building things,” explained Yazzie, who has been incorporating 3D printing in his curriculum at St. Bonaventure for the last several years. “3D manufacturing is small now, but wait ten years. These kids are going to be the ones running them. They’re going to be the ones running camps telling kids this could be their future.”

The next camp session for the inaugural Navajo Maker Summer Camp will run from June 19-23 and will be held at the NTU Fabrication Laboratory. In the facility, students will receive additional hands-on instruction in 3D printing, robotics, and metrology with the guidance of NTU faculty and students.
For more information about the Navajo Maker Summer Camp contact Ben Jones at or by calling 505.905.7813.


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