Pearse Hub for Innovation
Innovation, collaboration, project-based learning, design thinking, and entrepreneurship come together in The Pearse Hub for Innovation (PHI).
Students with myriad interests, a shared passion to solve problems worth solving, and an eagerness to make a positive difference in their communities now, come together in the PHI to take advantage of state-of-the-art technology, an adaptive makers’ space, training with faculty experts, and a cutting-edge curriculum.
While technology is a key component of the PHI experience, the space is also intended to foster creative problem solving.
According to Scott MacClintic ’82, Director of Innovation, ultimately the purpose of the PHI is to encourage students to “make things and make a difference.”
In addition to offering interdisciplinary courses, the PHI hosts visiting entrepreneurs to speak to and meet with Loomis students, works collaboratively with all academic departments to foster innovation across disciplines, and provides interested students and faculty with the training needed to safely and effectively use the tools in the hub’s makers’ space.
Problem Solving in Manufacturing, Society, and Entrepreneurship
This course will introduce students to the process of Design Thinking (DT) and provide them an opportunity to practice the skills involved in three different areas.
- Students will learn the design-build process and gain manufacturing experience in the makerspace.
- Students will design and implement a solution for a problem related to the concept of the common good.
- Students will tackle a business related entrepreneurship problem for a local business.
The Science of Engineering and Design
Students will learn about and gain experience in the engineering design and manufacturing process. Students will learn the design thinking approach to problem identification, the process of creating prototypes using the tools and resources of the maker space (3-D Printer, laser cutter, breadboards, microprocessors, etc.), and prototype drafting techniques (CAD). Students will culminate the course with a presentation on a project of their own design.
Problem Solving for the Common Good
Students will learn about and gain experience in the process of Design Thinking and how it can be applied to problems related to the Common Good and public service. Students will identify and design solutions for campus-based problems/challenges as well as a problem/challenge within the local community (Windsor or Hartford area).
Problem Solving for the Business World
Students will learn about and gain experience in the process of Design Thinking as it applies to businesses, both established businesses and start-up companies. Students will partner with local businesses to solve real world problems/challenges and will present their solutions to the partners.
This hands-on, experiential term course teaches students about advances in technology and collaboration skills, both of which are critical for innovation in the evolving 21st century workplace. Students are exposed to three ways in which robotics functions in today’s society: manufacturing, human-assistance, and autonomous control. Students work in small groups to explore the field of robotics through the completion of two major projects over the course of the term. First, students build kit-style unmanned aquatic vehicles (UAVs), modify them as needed, and learn how to successfully control the vehicles to perform tasks underwater. Second, students will design and build small “mouse-like” robots to autonomously navigate a maze, find a piece of “cheese,” and return it to the mouse hole. Both projects require students to become familiar with the Loomis Chaffee design process and the tools and resources in the Pearse Hub for Innovation. In addition to fabricating their own robots, and in order to better understand their use in industry, students have the opportunity to visit a local manufacturing company that uses robots.
All students and faculty interested in using the resources of the PHI are welcome regardless of whether they are enrolled in a PHI-related course. Training sessions on all equipment run regularly and as you master each piece of equipment, you are given credentials, indicating what equipment you are authorized to use.
Equipment currently available includes laser cutters, 3-D printers, a precision blade cutter, a CNC router, and wood working equipment.
The Innovation Trimester (I-Tri) is a new program where a select cohort of Loomis seniors will spend a term outside of their regular classes identifying and solving problems in the local Windsor/Greater Hartford area. Students will practice human-centered design and learn project management techniques and skills.
Learn more about the Innovation Trimester at
Entrepreneur Rachel DeCavage of Cinder & Salt joined a community conversation about the economic, environmental, and human costs of today’s “fast fashion” industry in the PHI on October 9.
The Loomis Chaffee Summer Program kicked off its eighth summer of learning and discovery on June 24 at a welcoming assembly for students and families.
In response to a challenge posed in April by Deborah Sheldon of Windsor Social Services, 10 I-Tri students developed resource kits to aid people presenting as homeless in the town.