Matthew Ziff joins Belmont Hill after having overseen an even larger space at City College in New York City. Mr. Ziff has deep experience overseeing the related equipment and helping to make projects come alive for both students and faculty.
We talked with Mr. Ziff about his thoughts on joining Belmont Hill.
What drew you to this position at Belmont Hill?
I was really drawn to Belmont Hill through the support from the entire administration around building out a robust maker program essentially from the ground up.
What is your background and what do you think makes you uniquely qualified to lead this effort?
I come from an engineering background: Bachelors and Master’s of Science in Industrial Engineering, with a focus in Ergonomics and Occupational Biomechanics from University of Miami, and a second Master’s of Science from City College of New York in Biomedical Engineering, with a focus on Orthopedic Biomechanics Research and Material Science, with published research from both institutions.
Through those efforts, I was able to teach a vast range of subjects to a wide variety of students and foster my love for teaching. Most recently, I have been the Resident Biodesign Mentor and Adjunct Lecturer at City College of New York’s Master’s in Translational Medicine program, where I taught students how to discover and define an unmet need within a problem area, develop a conceptual solution, and then bring that solution to life as a physical prototype using rapid prototyping techniques in the MTM Makerspace.
What is the vision for the Makerspace? How might it begin and evolve?
My vision for the Makerspace is for it to become a space where anyone—student or faculty—can come with an idea and have the freedom and opportunity to see where it leads.
In the short term, I plan to develop the Makerspace and Maker Program at large into a central piece of the Belmont Hill community by hosting workshops, coaching the robotics team and a still-in-development drone club/class, and hopefully running some campus-wide competitions. Long term, I would like to continue to develop the Makerspace into a community hub that all students will feel comfortable coming to, even if they’ve never considered themselves a “maker” before.
What might you say to prospective students about the Makerspace?
If you’ve never considered yourself a maker or not had any experience with “making” before, it may seem daunting, and you may feel as if you don’t even know where to start. I’ve heard that one plenty! I promise, it’s not as scary as you think. Come on by and let us show you all the ways you can personally take advantage of the space and the opportunities to learn within, and I promise you if nothing else, you’ll have a good time.
If you are a maker, or are interested but haven’t had the opportunity, I encourage you to come and spend as much time as you’d like playing and learning. I know you’ll find a space and a community that will facilitate and support your development into a world class maker.