On the Ground: Making the Most of the Graham Innovation Zone
At first glance, York College may look like a typical campus in a typical college town—but look a little closer, and you’ll discover a community full of hidden (and not-so-hidden) gems. In our On the Ground series, we explore some of YCP’s most beloved places and spaces with help from our own Spartan students.
“Everyone could benefit from a creative space like the Graham Innovation Zone,” says Graham Innovation Zone manager and Mechanical Engineering major Josh Diehl ’23, who likes to be a Dungeon Master for Dungeons and Dragons in his free time.
Located on campus beneath Brockie Commons, the Graham Innovation Zone, “is a place where Engaged Scholars can meet and work on various projects they may have,” Josh explains. “It is also a place where we try to encourage students to think differently than they might in a classroom setting.”
For Josh, the Graham Innovation Zone is a go-to place where he can brainstorm with other Engaged Scholars. He took lessons on 3D printing in the Graham Innovation Zone as well as practiced Design Thinking, which has helped him as he moved into his co-ops. Right now, he’s on co-op with Parker Hannifin Corporation in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where he says his job is “to make processes more efficient, safer for the worker, and basically anything else that may arise that will require some sort of problem-solving or creativity.”
Looking ahead, Josh believes the experience he has gained in the Graham Innovation Zone will not only help with co-ops, but also with his career plans. He is quick to emphasize that “the Engaged Scholars are what make it a creative space,” and says, “the group is committed to creative learning, and that’s what makes the Graham Innovation Zone so great.”
“I spend a couple of hours a week in the Graham Innovation Zone as part of my job. Otherwise, I spend another hour or two every few weeks working with the 3D printer we have access to,” he says. As the manager, he’ll organize events for students as well as maintain the space itself.
Josh sees tons of potential in the Graham Innovation Zone. It’s “a place where we have a lot of freedom to be creative. It’s a space unlike any other we have on campus and I hope we can expand its use in the future.” He says, “I think something like this should be accessible to all students on campus. Everyone could benefit from a creative space like the Graham Innovation Zone.”
Engaged Scholars are an honors community where students are encouraged to apply their academic learning to what they actually can accomplish in the world around them.
Based in principles of “human-centered design” (Design Thinking), the Engaged Scholars community reflects YCP’s commitment to community-based, hands-on learning and to being a strong resource for the greater York community, its people, and its businesses and organizations. This group of Scholars and their mentors provide human-centered research and actions that take on the knotty problems and offer “new-to-the world” innovations that address those problems.