Blog

NuVuX Innovation Camp for Educators (NICE)

Juliette Noone

This summer, NuVu was thrilled to host educators from our NuVuX Partner School network at the Cambridge school for our annual Innovation Camp event. It has been three years since we welcomed our community of educators back into the NuVu school, and the space was abuzz with creative energy for the two-day event. This exceptional group of leaders and educators are pushing the boundaries of what's possible in the education space, and NICE Camp provides an interactive, fun, and inspirational opportunity to reinvest in design innovation for partners and connect with our community of exceptional educators from across the globe.

Participants interact with Fellows, Program Designers, and Curriculum Specialists to learn about the NuVu approach directly from our team. Through an immersive experience, educators participate in a design studio and understand the students’ experience firsthand.  Micro workshops dive more deeply into components of the studio pedagogy and provide a forum to discuss successful studio design and some of the challenges that are faced when implementing innovative design programs.

The mini-studio this year was Pop-Up Participatory Devices, where participants collaboratively designed temporary installations that invite community participation. They explored and examined Central Square and potential locations within the urban fabric that could host their installations. Precedents that socially and culturally engage people walking down city streets opened their minds to the possibilities of their own designs, and they tested proof-of-concept prototypes to see how the community would respond to their ideas. 

Projects that delighted us included ideas like using the colored glass at the bus stops to play with shadows and light while you wait for your ride; a message board that encourages community members to engage with each other about their feelings and thoughts within the community; play structures added to the space for both adults and children to get to interact in an outdoor space physically. Participants loved getting a feel for the studio process and had even wished for more time in the future. We also wanted more time with them, and look forward to hosting more events for educators this year. 

New Staff Introductions

Juliette Noone

NuVu Cambridge Staff

Paula Garza Gonzalez (Architecture and Design Coach) is a new coach in Cambridge who will be added to NuVu as an Architecture and Design Coach. She holds a BS in Architecture and is currently working on her graduate degree at Harvard’s School of education and will be part-time throughout the fall while she finishes her graduate degree. 

Sammy Sass (Director of Student Support) is a new member of our student support team in Cambridge. She is our Director of Student Support. Sammy is a licensed mental health therapist, with a specialization in working with young people. She will be available to all students throughout the year.

Juliette Noone (Communications and Events Manager) is our new Communications & Events Manager in Cambridge. Juliette is a UMass Amherst alumni with a degree in Psychology and English. Before arriving in Boston, she lived in Philadelphia working as an immigration paralegal. She will be the primary contact for any questions that may arise from families.

Corey Predella (NuVu Intern) is a new Intern in Cambridge. Corey recently graduated high school at Beaver Country Day School and is now pursuing a gap year. Corey is a certified biomedical researcher through the Boston Medical Center who recently finished a research position coding for a doctor. He intends to pursue a degree in theoretical math during college. He will be helping out in studios with coding and CAD, and will be running a few seminars throughout the year.

NuVuX Staff

Chris Essex (Design Fellow) is our new NuVuX Fellow working at New Beginnings High School in Fort Meade, Florida. He holds a BA in Media and Information and has spent the last 5 years running a Makerspace in the Chicagoland area. Chris is passionate about creating and supporting learning environments where students can be their most creative selves and is looking forward to continuing that work at New Beginnings High School.

Lauren Mikaela Glenn (Design Fellow) will be our Fellow at The Wheeler School in Providence, Rhode Island. She recently graduated from the Masters of Industrial Design program at the Rhode Island School of Design and holds a BSE in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania. In her personal practice, she works primarily in wood and glass and loves to collaborate in and across the arts and sciences.

Summer 2022

Juliette Noone

We just wrapped up Summer 2022 and had three successful sessions full of creativity, innovation, and collaboration. Our team of NuVu experts from our ever-expanding network worked closely with the 100+ students to lead and guide them through a successful summer. Students were tasked with the complete design process which involved designing sci-fi vehicles for uncharted terrains, creating gadgets that detect toxins in the environment, programming and building robots for deep sea exploration, and building augmented reality worlds. We had great results and teamwork all throughout each session.

School Curriculum 2022-2023

Juliette Noone

Project Feature: Boston Buoy

Molly Powers

NuVu students are constantly applying their creative intuition to potential solutions for pressing global issues. Students Lalita B. and Ben J. used the final session of the winter term, Open Innovation, to create an idea that they hope draws much needed attention to a real, future problem they will likely be faced with.

Boston Buoys are interactive and educational installation art pieces. They are designed to teach passersby about rising sea levels in Boston, and how the coastline will be severely impacted. The news often presents stories about climate change and the disasters it causes, but these students felt it lacks a personal impact, and allows the viewer to disconnect, feeling like their particular communities and homes won't be affected. 

Check out the full details of their amazing final project here!

NuVu Spotlight Kunal Botla

Molly Powers

Introducing NuVu student, Kunal B.! Kunal joined NuVu in Fall 2021, and is now a junior. In his current studio, Kunal is working with his team to create a stimulating, high-intensity, musical experience that revolutionizes the sound of conventional instruments like the piano, guitar, and the drum. They are experimenting by altering commonly used mechanisms, as well as processing and mixing their sounds with post-production tools.


Q: When do you plan to graduate from NuVu, any thoughts on plans?

A: I am definitely looking to attend a four-year college. I still need to choose a field of study, but right now I am very interested in tech and political science, and the intersection between the two.

Q: What was your first impression of NuVu?

A: Very different, very dynamic. Both in the day-to-day experience as well on a larger scale. At first, it was the flexibility and novelty that drew me to NuVu, I was very intrigued and excited. I had a little bit of previous experience with makerspaces through my old school, but I was really excited and interested in diving into something like that full time.

Q: What is your biggest achievement to date at NuVu? It can be anything! 

A: My last Open Innovation project Connecting Homes , explored many different media, and I felt like I really  developed new skills in urban planning and architecture. I explored regional development, and did high level analysis for regional design.I really enjoyed spending time looking at different areas that could be more urbanized, and how I could reconnect them to transit lines, making them more accessible to people. This felt like an impactful attempt at addressing the housing crisis, where I also gained a lot of new skills, and I felt very proud of this.

Q: What are your most favorite tools, or materials available to you at NuVu?

A: The laser cutter…..duh! I know it is kind of everyone’s favorite tool, but it really is so multipurpose, and it’s way larger than most laser cutters I'm used to. What’s best about it is that you can really cut almost anything with it, so there is so much room for quick 2D and 3D prototyping. It’s the best tool you can use to quickly make a small scale representation of a big idea, and using it is pretty easy to pick up!

Q: What do you like to do with your time when you are not at school?

A: I participate in a lot of project based stuff outside of school. Currently I am running a highschool hackathon through an organization called MAHacks, so I spend a lot of my time after studio planning and coordinating that event. I got involved through hack-club, an online community of high school coding clubs and makers around the world. In addition, I like to create apps, and am working on building a tool for high schoolers to manage finances, and organize community. Also, I spend a lot of time and money on photography.

Running Boston Marathon for Karam

Molly Powers

Join us in supporting our very own Amro Arida (NuVu Art Director) as he runs the Boston Marathon this upcoming April 18. Amro is running to raise funds for our NuVuX partner, Karam Foundation. Karam Foundation is a non-profit organization that works across Syria, Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan to aid refugee families displaced by the Syrian Civil War.


Karam Foundation is committed to guiding 10,000 Syrian refugees on a path to leadership by 2028 by creating safe spaces to connect and learn, and by developing a support ecosystem where refugees and their families can thrive. Amro has set a generous goal of raising $10,000 for Karam House, the foundation’s youth center that partners with NuVu to bring an Innovative Education program to young refugees. Karam House provides students the tools, skills, and resources needed to change the future. If you feel inclined to support this cause, please donate here.


Good luck, Amro, we’ll see you on the course!

NuVu Innovation School | Spring Open House

Molly Powers

Join us on Tuesday, March 8 from 7:00 - 8:00 PM for our Spring Open House! Come to explore Fall 2022 high school enrollment options for your student, or just to learn more about NuVu Innovation School and our studio curriculum. 

Register HERE for this event. We hope to see you there!

NuVu Spotlight: Tiandra Ray

Molly Powers

Introducing NuVu Coach, Tiandra Ray. Tiandra joined the NuVu team as a NuVuX Design Fellow at the Fessenden School in Fall 2018. She worked closely with members of the faculty there, to co-teach NuVuX Innovation Studios to 7th-9th grade students. After launching NuVuX programs at Fessenden and other partner schools, Tiandra joined the Cambridge staff as a full-time coach in September of 2021.


Q: What brought you to NuVu originally, were you an industry professional prior to teaching?

A: I worked in a local architecture firm as a fabrication specialist and architectural designer before coming to NuVu. I had always worked in education programs in my free time at summer and extracurricular programs. So, when the opportunity to switch to full time teaching while continuing to apply fabrication and design skills was presented, it seemed too interesting to pass up. 

The most compelling part of NuVu is how the curriculum model encourages young people to blur the boundaries of disciplines and genres. NuVu helps them build a framework to carve out their own interdisciplinary paths of more culturally aware, and compassionate design. This is what I wanted to invest my time in; helping students build a foundation of interdisciplinary education to prepare them to become the leaders of the future we need.

Q: “What are some of the projects you have supported at NuVu? Tell me about your journey here.

A: I started at NuVu as a NuVuX Design Fellow for one of our partner schools, Fessenden. I had the opportunity to work with an AMAZING team there; Curt Llewelyn, the Director of the Cignoli Center for Innovation (CCI),  Lauren Maiurano CCI Innovation Coach, and Librarian Erika Hoddinott to name a few. The maker-space truly felt like a place where students could be fully themselves, and release their curiosity through explorations in design. I’m so proud to have been a part of getting the NuVuX program started there. It continues to flourish as a space where teachers from all disciplines come together to collaborate on projects for their classrooms.

Q: What is the best part of working with students in this model?

A: The most fun part about working with students in this model is hearing about students’ ideas. Sometimes a problem that may seem mundane to an adult can seem like a mountain to a teen, and they’ll pitch a wacky far-fetched design with a deadpan straight face. There is such a vast range of experiences that students have, and along with that a vast range of things they find important, and ways they see the world. Those wacky ideas are the best part of working here. Hearing about the varied interests, and projects ideas that students come up with, and then helping them through the creative journey to represent this wacky idea is so. much. fun. Teaching at NuVu keeps you on your toes, and keeps you young. You can’t take yourself too seriously here, or anywhere really, so it’s always a really fun place to be.

Q: What is the most challenging part of working with students in this model? 

A: One of the most difficult things about teaching in this model is helping students follow through on their own ideas. Sometimes, because things can move quickly, a student might fail to see the value in - or even just forget about - an incredibly worthwhile idea. Sometimes students just don't see the vision yet, but all they really have to do in order to realize that vision is to just try it. Getting students to a place of confidence to pursue new and unexplored media, and to follow through on big ideas, can often be the most challenging part. 

Q: Imagine the year is 2030, what is the advice you would give to NuVu’s graduating class?

A: Run with the ideas you have now. Identify things that make you uncomfortable, and question the way things are working. You are now the people in the movement, you are the protestors, you are the faces in history textbooks. Embrace that you are a part of this history, even if it’s hard to realize it. A huge part of being involved in something big is following your convictions, and speaking up about your vision. The future that you see is possible, even if no one else has grasped yet. Try it out, make your voice heard now, and I promise you people will catch up.

Project Feature: Into the Deep

Molly Powers

February’s project feature is a mysterious animated short that explores the types of creatures that live in the depths of the ocean. Ninth graders Cole K. and Siena J. created Into the Deep, a documentary-like animated short exploring the midnight zone of the ocean and the unique creatures that inhabit it.

Building on the technical and conceptual experience gained from the first part of this studio series, Cole and Siena worked together to construct, animate, and edit a visual campaign informed by a natural event or phenomena. They were tasked with exploring current global issues they found compelling, and produced the final animated short with workflows from a variety of 2D and 3D softwares, including Blender, After Effects, Houdini, and DaVinci Resolve.

The deep-sea is relatively unknown and unexplored. “Into the Deep” aims to educate people on the wonders of this vast and unknown world. Due to lack of sunlight and other essential resources most creatures would need to survive, the life that inhabits the deep sea has developed unique traits in order to flourish. Animals like the yeti crab use arms covered in hairs to sift for bacteria in the water, while the angler fish uses bioluminescence to lure its prey closer.

Early research looked at what types of life could survive around 2100 meters below sea level - the midnight zone - and what unique traits they have gained that help them survive. Learning about eating habits and general behavior helped to better understand the creatures that are animated in this short. The team hopes to educate the audience about just a few of the wonders that live deep below the surface.