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Frequently Asked Questions

  • Why should I support Nova Labs?
    Nova Labs relies on donations from our local community to support growing our impact in the region. From our STEAM education programs to community service projects, and supporting entrepreneurship through our Innovation Center, we are in a unique position to use our collective powers for good in so many ways. We have no shortage of ideas, manpower or capability, but we do need help removing financial barriers to building bigger and doing more. Your donation can help subsidize facilities upgrades, tool acquisitions and program expansion, that all lead to Nova Labs becoming a stronger regional hub for all that we do.
  • How does Nova Labs support STEAM education?
    Here at Nova Labs, we believe you can grow, discover and create at any age. We lean into our unique environment, culture of mentoring, and diverse, vibrant community as our greatest resources in fostering a dynamic education program for people of all ages. Over the last year alone, Nova Labs has offered approximately 2,000 hands-on learning opportunities in a variety of learning styles and formats. Our education offerings range from adult learning to Makerschool youth summer camps, an internship program, and hosting Robotics teams. With your help, we could grow our strong educational programing into something that reaches even more people and continues to inspire both kids and adults on their paths in STEAM. Our adult education covers tool safety, as well as micro-certifications focused on skills advancement and mastery in many fields, from the very technical subjects, to more universal topics like home renovations. This experience at Nova Labs has led some of our members into successful careers in fabrication, innovation and education. Makerschool Summer Camps focus on hands-on, project-centered learning. We offer age appropriate programs for nearly 150 kids annually, ranging from kindergarten through seniors in high school. With additional funding, we can offer even more programing and need-based scholarships than we do today. The Nova Labs Robotics program is currently comprised of 13 teams, with a total of 120 participants. We have more interest than we can accommodate for our award-winning Robotics teams, and could scale the program with your help. Our internship program has supported a total of 23 interns that have used their skills learned at Nova Labs to get into colleges and find good jobs. With your help, we hope to expand the number and quality of internships while building a stronger program.
  • How does Nova Labs support local innovation and entrepreneurship?
    The knowledge base, education and mentorship throughout our community, coupled with access to the workspace and sophisticated tools, makes Nova Labs a great place for innovators and entrepreneurs to design products and handle small-scale production. Through the Innovation Center, we are able to offer office space and a dedicated work area for businesses to prototype, validate and grow. We also partner with incubators, venture capital firms, and local universities for business advisory and training programs that help local businesses get up and running. Our Innovation Center currently receives more interest than we can accommodate. With your help, we can offer a more state-of-the-art facility with a larger dedicated workspace, a professional conference room that would attract speakers and investors to meet with our members, and more office space to meet demand.
  • How does Nova Labs support the community?
    Nova Labs leverages the skills and knowledge of our members, as well as our facility and tools, to give back to the broader community. During the PPE shortage at the beginning of the COVID pandemic, we were able to manufacture and distribute over 10,000 face shields and thousands of cloth masks to area hospitals and care facilities. We were also able to team up with university hospital R&D leaders to innovate and prototype solutions to urgent needs. We have also run Empower2Make, a program that matches need-knowers with teams of cross-discipline innovators and makers to come up with solutions for people who can't get their needs met by what's on the market today. Whether it's a custom foldable table for a wheelchair-bound author to use as she travels for conferences, or a system of wearable sensors to allow a skateboarder to be able to continue skating even after he lost his sight, Nova Labs is uniquely positioned to use our collective powers for good in so many ways. Our facility has supported projects from organizations such as Bunks Across America, building bunk beds for families in need of beds, and Rustic Love Vienna, building hundreds of signs that were later sold in a fundraiser to help alleviate local food insecurity during the COVID shutdown. With your support we can create and support more programs and grow the ones that we already have!
  • What kinds of tools does NL offer?
    Tons! From a well appointed woodshop, to everything you'd need to make t-shirts, Nova Labs has the tools. Our equipment supports metalworking- large and small scale, electronics, crafting, sewing, and more. We also have high-end digital equipment like CNC mills, 100 watt laser cutters, 3D printers, CNC routers, and even CNC embroidery machines. Visit our wiki for a complete list of shops and tools.
  • How is Nova Labs run?
    Nova Labs is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization founded in 2011. We take a membership approach to providing creators, entrepreneurs, and kids with the ability to access a host of amazing tools and programs. We keep our dues low and even offer scholarships to ensure cost is not an obstacle to participation. And while those dues keep the lights on, the most valuable contributions from our members come in the form of countless hours of volunteering. Hundreds of dedicated members consistently offer their time and skills to build the building, keep the place running, and make it so effective in all the ways it benefits our community and region.
  • What is a Makerspace?
    A makerspace is a shared workspace for inventors, designers and tinkerers, and hosts a community founded on open-source learning and collaboration. The community can be made up of all sorts of makers, from computer hackers to traditional artisans. Nova Labs is a very community oriented makerspace, and offers over 20,000 square feet of manufacturing tools, office space and classrooms. It’s the ideal place to start a business or pick up a new hobby. We believe that with the right tools and inspiration, makers have the potential to change the world, and Nova Labs is here to support that.

Ready to support our awesome mission?

Visit the Nova Labs donation portal to make a donation today!

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