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Technocopia: Increasing Accessibility and Belonging at Technocopia

Project Description

This project worked with Technocopia, a makerspace in Worcester, MA, to foster accessibility in training and diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB) in their space. We interviewed staff, instructors, members, and DEIB specialists, and evaluated the CNC machining training through participant observation. We found that Technocopia has a need for: reference and safety materials, more website resources, transparency from the board, improvements to gender discrepancies, and more representation. We recommended Technocopia create more reference and safety materials for their machines, update their website, change current board operations, update their methods of handling discrimination and harassment, and provide more online and interpersonal implementations for DEIB.


Technocopia is a non-profit makerspace in Worcester, MA that aims to build and maintain a diverse community that celebrates wide-ranging forms of technology, culture, craft and education.

They provide spaces and services dedicated to technical and social collaborations among people of diverse backgrounds and experiences. They value skill-building that provides communities, families, and individuals with the tools and expertise necessary to sustainably support their own creative and humanitarian needs.​

Student Researchers

  • Joan Albert – I am a Junior majoring in Computer Science. I was drawn to this project because I wanted my technical background to be of use in improving the training at Technocopia. Additionally, having seen how important diversity is in STEM fields, I was interested in learning about makerspaces and diversity in the trades as well. I am glad that this project took this direction because I feel that I have been enlightened by this experience and better educated on these larger global problems that we studied.
  • Stefanie Beaudry – I am a Junior majoring in Architectural Engineering and minoring in Sustainable Engineering. I was first interested in this project because I had prior experience with teaching, and it seemed like we were going to create online learning modules. As the project evolved, I became more engaged, and it opened my eyes to how big a role diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging play in a makerspace. I was able to learn so much and gain many skills that I will use in the future.
  • Jack Campanale – I am a Junior studying Computer Science and Interactive Media and Game Development. I have always been interested in makerspaces but never had experience with one until this project. Accessibility for all audiences is important to me so I am glad that our project worked towards developing strategies for accessibility and belonging for all kinds of people at Technocopia. I also enjoyed working with the machines in the space as well as designing posters on how to set them up.
  • Matthew Copeland – I am a Junior studying Computer Science and minoring in Robotics Engineering. My Robotics minor has caused me to spend a lot of time in makerspaces waiting for a part to finish 3D printing. This got me interested in how makerspaces operate beyond the surface level. I have also completed the CNC training at WPI’s machine shop so I felt that I could contribute that knowledge to this project. I have enjoyed working on this project as it has given me more insight into how makerspaces operate as well as how much diversity training matters to help draw in and maintain a diverse membership.
  • Elizabeth Valentine – I am a Junior majoring in Civil Engineering with a concentration in Structural Engineering. As a woman with experience in Metal Fabrication, I was interested in how my background could contribute to creating a more inclusive space at Technocopia. Through working on this project, I learned about the various things I can do as an individual to make an impact on the societal issues of systemic racism and implicit bias.


Trade skills have been stigmatized as less desirable compared to other jobs, which has created a sharp decline in interest for younger generations. A lack of diversity has become apparent within trade workforces. On top of this, the decline of people entering the trades is causing a demand for skilled workers in trade skills.  

Makerspaces are an important tool to introduce beginners into trade skills as they allow for experimentation and a wide variety of learning experiences. Technocopia is a non-profit makerspace in Worcester, MA that aims to offer experience, tools and training to the population of Worcester. Technocopia is committed to increasing diversity and inclusion in their makerspace and they would like to reevaluate their training programs to emphasize accessibility for beginners and diverse audiences.  

Project Goal and Objectives

Goal: To promote accessibility in Technocopia’s training, particularly with CNC Machining, and to develop new strategies to bolster their diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging. 


  • Understand current training and the environment at Technocopia 
  • Understand DEIB through other organizations 
  • Make recommendations and obtain feedback