Adelphi alumni are part of a thriving company that produces 3D printers that make prosthetics and other life-changing innovations.

by Erin Donohue

innovation-stephanie-nowak-stevan-franeta-largeLiam, a 5-year-old boy in South Africa, was born without fingers on his right hand. Now, thanks to two inventive designer-programmers and a MakerBot Industries three-dimensional printer, he has a functioning prosthetic and the capability to replace it as he grows into adulthood. Three-dimensional printers, which build objects from computer designs, have been around for a while. But MakerBot, started just four years ago in Brooklyn, is making these science-fiction– sounding machines as accessible as desktop computers.

Most of the MakerBot creations are formed from plastic. As with all things plastic, the possibilities are infinite—from jewelry and tools to furniture, fashion and toys. Committed to furthering innovation through open-source programming, MakerBot shares the designs for scores of objects on its website. NASA even uses MakerBot technology to produce many of its models.

Adelphi alumni Stephanie Nowak ’10, M.A. ’12, and Stevan Franeta ’11 are among the millennials making MakerBot hum. Ms. Nowak, who studied psychology at Adelphi, has worked in the company’s human resources department since January 2012. She is charged with helping new hires settle into a constantly evolving workplace. “It is very rewarding to be a part of this company,” she says. “MakerBot’s efforts have proved to be life-changing.”

Mr. Franeta, who has worked in MakerBot’s accounting department since February 2012, enjoys the collaborative culture. “We all help each other out on a daily basis,” he says. He first heard of 3-D printing at Adelphi, while taking a Life in the Financial Markets class. He started researching potential employers and now is not looking back. “There is a clear-cut difference from a company that is solely out to make a profit and [working for] a company like MakerBot, which is out to change the world,” Mr. Franeta says.

This piece is part of Innovation @ Adelphi from the Adelphi University Magazine Spring 2013 edition.


Watch a video interview with Stephanie Nowak on the Value of a psychology degree.

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