What is the Student Innovation Center?
Iowa State University offers a transformative student experience rich in new ideas, diverse perspectives, and imaginative people so that students can be inspired to think differently and create change. The Student Innovation Center is the nexus for that change.
The Student Innovation Center, opened August 2020, is unique in size, scope, and involvement. The 140,000-square-foot, five-floor facility is a resource serving the entire university community with unique facilities and workspaces to foster innovation across all aspects of Iowa State’s land-grant mission.
There’s something for everyone. Every college has space in the Student Innovation Center – but only 40 percent of the building is allocated to colleges. The other 60 percent is shared, collaborative space.
It provides a welcoming and vibrant environment where all university stakeholders can find resources to foster new ideas, creativity, experimentation, evaluation, and entrepreneurship; especially at the intersection of traditional disciplines.
Iowa State’s Student Innovation Center is made possible by the generous gifts of donors and financial support from the State of Iowa.
Frequently asked questions
When did the center open?
The Student Innovation Center opened in August 2020, welcoming students, faculty, staff, and community members through its doors.
How has the center responded to COVID-19?
The Student Innovation Center has taken precautions based on the latest Iowa State University campus policies, consultations with the ISU Office of Risk Management, health guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), other public health organizations, and staff input. We remain committed to the health and safety of center visitors, and our goal is to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 to the greatest extent possible. With that in mind, we have plans in place to help mitigate possible spread, while maintaining access to center facilities and services.
Is the center open to anyone?
Whether you’re a student looking to study or collaborate on a project, a professor hoping to teach a class within our state-of-the-art facility, a group hoping to invent the next big thing, or a community member interested in supporting student entrepreneurs by buying a new scarf or hot cup of coffee, the Student Innovation Center is here for you.
What can I do at the center?
The Student Innovation Center has makerspaces for wood, metal, plastic, glass, textiles, composite materials and electronics, and the professional staff and student assistants who make training and access simple.
The center also has 13 meeting rooms, special project areas, an exhibit gallery, a step-a-torium, two multipurpose rooms, four open co-working areas, informal gathering areas, and event spaces.
And there’s still even more to discover.
Lunar testing, assembly bays, composites, misc/shared fabrication, media production suite, special projects, meeting rooms, auditorium (university classroom), dyno testing, engineering capstone project suite, gaming lab, student organization offices.
Wet workshop, paint booth/finishes, supply store, gaffer’s guild, retail, retail storage, exhibit storage, meeting room, small exhibit, large exhibit, multipurpose room, metal and wood fabrication and assembly, two assembly bays, outdoor makerspace.
Open assembly digital fabrication and textiles electronics, STEM help room, meeting rooms, learning spaces, (two university classrooms), open co-working, print center, SICTR admin, secure assembly, assembly bay, student org offices, design build/design option studio, outdoor special projects, digital modeling and visualization laboratory, BPMI, engineering capstone project suite.
Engineering capstone project suite, entrepreneurship hubs, learning space (university classroom), meeting rooms, student organization offices, open co-working, demonstration kitchen, CyBiz, planting beds.
Industrial design sponsored studios, meeting rooms, student media publication studio, learning space (university classroom), project suite, multi-purpose, student-run café, open collaboration/café seating.
Student Innovation Center Staff
For general questions, please contact the Student Innovation Center at 515-294-2649.
Innovation Program Staff
Karen Piconi Kerns serves Iowa State University to build and brand Innovate at Iowa State. Her work focuses on co-creating programs and experiences that accelerate student, faculty, and staff, professional and individual, capacity to innovate as a means to create and deliver meaningful economic and community contribution. She also collaborates with industry stakeholders and the Office of Admissions to create relationships that invite and encourage external stakeholders to participate in Iowa State’s innovation programs.
Karen earned a BA from University of California, Irvine, and an MA from Iowa State University, where she also taught and trained students, faculty, and staff for over two decades. She holds certificates in Internal Family Systems Therapy and Spiritual Direction in support of her research and works to inspire stakeholder engagement and relationships. In the industry, she served six years managing and fundraising for a nonprofit organization, five years as CEO of Persuade and Publish International, and ten years as Co-Founder of Kerns and Associates in roles as Vice President and CEO. As CEO of K&A, she built and branded their risk management business to consult with industry’s top pork producers, influencing nearly 40% of the industry. Karen specializes in modeling, documenting, and designing business solutions and brokering value-based relationships. She has 30 plus years’ experience in business development and stakeholder engagement among international and domestic, governmental, educational, and corporate entities. Her work has included advising developing business as an SBA mentor for Iowa, collaborating with USDA and IFDC to launch Albania’s first ag small business development center; she conducted workshops on risk communication in Serbia and Montenegro, and she spent most of her career training about and creating value propositions for technology-based businesses and nonprofits. She has published several articles on business succession planning and employee engagement and won Rotary’s “Unsung Hero” award for her contributions to Iowa Communities.
Come visit the Student Innovation Center, and don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions!
The center’s administrative office, Room 2118, is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., and can be reached at 515-294-2649.
For inquiries relating to Innovation Programs or Innovation Fellows, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Building Open Hours
Monday-Thursday: 7 a.m. – 11 p.m.
Friday: 7 a.m. – 9 p.m.
These don’t reflect business hours for offices within the building. The building and offices are closed during university holidays.