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.

Summers' Coming in Hot at NuVu!

Molly Powers

Still looking for a summer program for your creator at home? Sign up for summer 2022 at NuVu! 

Nine exciting in-person studios are running from July 11 to August 19. Check them out on our website by clicking the link below. 

Limited spots will be available, so act fast! Register HERE today.

Introducing the Student Project Feature column! At the end of every studio session, students present their final ideas to teachers, peers, and guest critics as the culmination of their design process. In this column, we will feature some of the incredible projects students have created over the years. 

In Fall 2020, NuVu senior Mathew P. created the Archetypes Tarot deck. This new conceptualization of tarot cards uses the twenty-two major arcana of the mainstream Rider-Waite-Smith tarot deck. Using imagery from different cultures and mythologies, Mathew altered traditional archetypes to connect more deeply with the universal human experience. To see more of Mathew’s process, follow the link to his portfolio below.

Archetypes Tarot Portfolio Link

Featured NuVu Human: Trevor M.

Molly Powers

Introducing the Featured NuVu Human column! Each month, we will spotlight one of our incredible students. This month, we’re delighted to introduce you to NuVu ninth grader Trevor M. 

Trevor has been a student at NuVu since Spring 2020, and this past week, we had the chance to sit down with Trevor to learn a bit more about what it is like to be a student at NuVu. 

Q: Last year was a strange time to be in school. How did it feel to come back to NuVu this Fall?

A: This year, it felt like I was able to get a lot more done. I remember back in early 2021 we had three online days in a row, and only had one week of onsite studio time before we went into lockdown. Now that we’re able to be onsite, it’s so fun to be back in the space and work all day. Also it feels good to actually see people in person. Sometimes conversations can be really awkward on zoom, and if you’re working with a partner it can be hard to talk about the physical aspects of your project. It’s just easier to just show them in person in the space, so I love being back.

Q: Reflect on some of the successes you’ve had at NuVu. What is one success that you worked through, and how did you feel once you overcame it?

A: In spring 2020 I was brand new to NuVu. It was bad timing, because the pandemic hit shortly after, and we went fully remote. This was a challenge, but also a success. I was able to power through the first studio, and am really proud of what I came up with for my project. It was really rewarding! 

Q: Reflect on the many projects you’ve done at NuVu. What is a project that really allowed you to grow, or challenged you in some way? 

A: There’s two projects I can think of that really made me grow. The project I completed in the first winter session last year was a challenge because even though the studio was remote, the project was physical. Even though not all team members were able to physically construct the model, it challenged us to work on other skills like modeling, and project management. Then, in Fall 2021 I was in a VR studio that was awesome. I felt like I really had a grasp the VR software at the end of the studio, and I was super happy with the outcome of my project.

Q: What advice would you give to new incoming NuVu students?

A: It is important to keep things fun, and think as wild as possible at NuVu. Often it can be easy to think an idea or a project is not feasible, but what I’ve learned here is that pretty much anything can be achieved. Even if you don’t build your idea, there are countless ways to represent it. 

Summer that you?

Molly Powers

Journey to the moon and back this summer with NuVu! We are so excited to announce in-person studios for middle schoolers this summer. Join us as we seek new knowledge, connect futurism with pressing needs on Earth, and transform (inter)stellar ideas into real projects.

Zoom your way through Transitopia by designing, building and reimagining the future of personalized mobility. What will vehicles look like in the far future?  What will the systems that support these vehicles look like? To answer these questions, students will construct their own re-imagination of sci-fi and futuristic vehicles, while learning about renewable energy systems such as solar, hydro and wind power. 

Take over the interstellar runway with genre-bending fashion in Space Fashion. Students will reach for inspiration from the internal self, out into the solar system, and in the process will learn the basics of sewing and digital fabrication techniques to help bring their ideas to life.

Registrations are now open! Click HERE to read more about each studio, and register your student for summer 2022 studios.

Studio Feature: Procedural Visual Effects

Molly Powers

This Winter, NuVu students had the opportunity to enroll in a two-part studio series where they learned about current topics in computer graphics, with a specific focus on proceduralism, simulation, and the emergence of natural patterns and phenomena. 

Computer graphics have long been utilized as a means to visualize and illuminate the natural world. More recently, generative software and artificial intelligence have empowered us to rationalize complex natural phenomena like viral protein structures, gravitational distortion caused by black holes, or complex patterns found on the scales of pufferfish. These simulations have helped expand our understanding of the natural world, and provide scaffolding for scientific discovery. 

In the first studio session of the term, students examined these topics through a series of procedural modeling exercises using the software Houdini FX. Students explored topics such as the growth patterns of snowflake crystals, the formation of tornadoes, and the self-organizing behaviors demonstrated by schools of fish. 

Building on the technical and conceptual experience gained in session one, students in the second session worked in teams to construct, animate, and edit a visual campaign informed by a natural event or phenomena. The teams explored current and compelling global issues with the objective of enlightening audiences through a provocative and educational piece. Through this studio, students have been introduced to a variety of cinematography, rigging, and animation techniques while developing a sensitivity to narrative construction, composition, and lighting. 


Molly Powers

During the second studio session of our Fall Term, a group of students had the opportunity to participate in a Biodesign Challenge in partnership with Google. Their task: pitch an idea for a new product, or process of creating products, that is truly renewable and has a positive impact on the environment. 

We’re delighted to announce that students Amiyr A., Elijah R., and Aveen N. placed third out of twenty total projects with their project BIO-PCB. Their design replaces elements of a normal printed circuit board that are harmful to the environment, with mushroom spore bioplastic and water soluble glue. When dipped in water the rare metal components slide off the circuit board, and the PCB can then be planted, grown and harvested to re-make the bioplastic material it originated from. 

Congratulations to you three, we are so proud of you!

To view the team's final project please follow this link

Good Bye Fall Term!

Molly Powers
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In the blink of an eye, fall term is behind us! Students wrapped up their Open Innovation projects and showcased their incredible ideas and designs at our Fall Final Exhibition on Friday, November 19. Six keynote presenters and two student emcees led us through an overview of some incredible partnerships and new technology explored throughout this fall term. 

Twelfth grade students, Luca R. and Miriam L., and ninth grader Sasha H. created Resonance, a three-part wearable collection which creates an intimate musical experience between audience members and musicians. Each garment in the Resonance collection amplifies both the visual and physical components of a concert. 

Twelfth grader Mathew P. created personalized tarot cards, using the twenty two major mystery groups of a mainstream tarot deck. Mathew explored imagery from different cultures and mythologies in an effort to show how the archetypes seen in tarot are part of the universal human experience.

Following the six keynotes, all students exhibited their final designs and prototypes of the term in a school-wide project fair, broadcasted on Zoom for families and friends to see. 

To explore the final projects from this term, please follow the links below, and stay tuned for more updates!

Keynote Presentations

Project Fair Presentations