Skip to content

Getting Hands on with Creativity at the MILL – an interview with Dei Caudle

The MILL and Dabble Lab are makerspaces that provide UW students, staff and faculty the tools and resources to build and prototype to bring their ideas to life. Each makerspace is a social, multidisciplinary and collaborative environment that connects the UW’s creative community. The OYPC team had the pleasure of talking with Dei Caudle to learn more about her role as the instructional technician and how the makerspaces have impacted the UW community.

The History and The Making

Since 2018, Dei has been supervising and maintaining the MILL, allowing for the UW community to continue to use the space to explore their own creativity. Dei graduated from the UW with a physics degree and began working as a resident advisor in UW’s housing program before she decided to transition to the MILL. The work, which blends working with people and science, felt like the right fit for her.

The MILL is located in McCarty Hall on North Campus and was opened in 2019 after the success of the Dabble Lab located in Maple Hall, a residence hall located on West Campus, which opened in 2014.

The idea of having a makerspace included in the on-campus housing residence was introduced by Brian Fabien, former Associate Dean of Academic Affairs for the College of Engineering. More than just a residence, Maple Hall is a fully immersive living-learning environment for UW engineering students to participate in a community with those of the same interests and majors. In 2014, the new Maple Hall plans included a community focused area which evolved the idea of having a makerspace for engineering students (and resident assistants) to gather, learn from one another and collaborate together. The goal of the makerspaces is for students to design and produce their very own work in an environment made to foster innovation through community learning.

“The numbers have shown how much students value the makerspace…we get 11,000 distinct people who come in…so people come in, they use [the space] for projects, the classes they take…the space is really to get people in and excited about learning new things.” – Dei Caudle

The Role & Impact of the Makerspace

As an instructional technician, Dei is responsible for overseeing the MILL. This means making sure the equipment is in good working condition, organizing repairs and supervising students during workshops.

Dei also helped develop a course curriculum used with college students during the school year and adapted for use over the summer through Continuum College’s Youth & Teen Programs in a hybrid model. The curriculum focuses on teaching students how to use the different equipment at the MILL and learning about the space and the engineering design process. The MILL chose to continue with a hybrid model program for the 2021-22 year after spending a lot of time developing a high quality online program for the 2020-21 year. The MILL has found a hybrid model that accommodates students outside of Seattle, allowing them to participate in the program virtually while also giving those closer to UW opportunities to come in.

Dei emphasized how the makerspace is a resource for learning: students can come in with no experience and leave knowing how to operate a new machine. She encourages and enjoys watching community members combine the different resources offered at the makerspace to pursue their passions in addition to their work. The MILL, specifically, features industry-standard equipment, unavailable to students in any other nonacademic campus venue. Some of the equipment featured include 3D printers, laser cutters, advanced art and design tools, a water jet cutter, embroidery machines and so much more! Dei and her team are currently working on building out the process to teach students how to use more advanced machines that require more credentials to use.

When asked about her favorite part of the role, Dei expressed her enthusiasm and pride towards her students and their work. It’s clear that the makerspace becomes a home for many on campus who want to be a part of a greater creative community:

“We see students come in as freshmen and stay all four years of their college experience and that’s wonderful to watch them grow…you watch them go through the college process and you get to build that relationship over 4 years. It’s always sad when they graduate, but it’s great knowing we’ve given them a place to be in a community. A lot of our staff are friends with each other and we’ve created a community which, to me, is very meaningful.” – Dei Caudle

The success of the makerspaces has made a huge impact on the UW community, allowing for creative collaboration and individual passion pursuits. Dei shares that she hopes the community only grows and becomes even more publicized to those outside of engineering who want to learn more about the different machines and technology available.

“The things we are working on as a team are really making sure we are advertising ourselves and making sure people know we exist outside of the STEM area. I can’t tell you the number of times someone has stumbled in and they go ‘Oh my gosh, I didn’t know this was here!’….Making sure people know we are here and letting them know what we can do to help them is really important to us.” – Dei Caudle

Although there is a set budget to provide the makerspaces with machine replacement and repairs, the MILL is currently working on an STF proposal to get even more equipment! This aligns with the goal of makerspaces to expose and equip students with the newest and latest technology that they might encounter after graduating from UW.

Upcoming Events

Every year in the beginning of April, UW hosts the annual Maker Summit for students to showcase their projects within different categories such as photography, software, 3D printing and beyond. It’s a competition for students to show off their work while also getting the chance to win within their category. While only UW students can enter the Maker Summit, faculty, staff and the public are encouraged to come and view the projects. The Maker Summit also runs workshops and activities, a great opportunity for the public to get a chance to experience and try-out the machines offered at the MILL.

For more information about the event and to view past submissions, please visit their website.

A BIG THANK YOU to Dei for taking the time out of her busy life to share her stories with all of us as a part of Youth at UW!

Access to the MILL is free for all UW students!

Beginning Saturday, September 24, 2022, the makerspace will be open 8:30 AM – Midnight, Monday – Friday and 1 PM – Midnight, Saturday and Sundays.

Location: McCarty Hall, 2100 NE Whitman Ct., Seattle, WA 98195

Contact: 206-616-1162 and

Strengthening the Safety & Well-being of youth in the UW Community – SafeCampus Interview

An important resource and partner to the entire UW community, SafeCampuss mission is to foster a safe and supportive UW community. The department strives to help faculty, staff and students prevent violence and be prepared to respond when it occurs. SafeCampus is a  great partner to youth programs for consultations and violence prevention education.

The OYPC team interviewed SafeCampus Senior Violence Prevention & Response Specialist, Natalie Dolci, LICSW, who has been a part of the department for 2 years now.

Stronger Together – the SafeCampus team

Natalie is a licensed clinical social worker, and her background is working in survivor advocacy which is a large portion of the folks they serve. Natalie values the opportunities she has to to be trusted with disclosures and make sure survivors are getting connected to the right resources for their situation.

Although Natalie plays a crucial role on the SafeCampus team, she reminds us that it takes a village to make sure all needs are met. The SafeCampus team includes: Gillian Wickwire, Laura Fay, Paige Sechrest & three practicum students from the School of Social Work. Each person is crucial to ensuring that SafeCampus is able to support every individual in the UW community. Dr. Sechrest leads Prevention and Education work and Gillian, Natalie, and Laura are involved with direct services and consultations. Natalies shares that:

“It’s great to have a training and prevention arm in addition to a direct services arm because we can have an interplay between both sides of the program- people will be more inclined to talk to SafeCampus about concerns.”

When asked about SafeCampus’ greatest success, Natalie explains that in violence prevention work, it’s hard to measure success, because it is hard to prove the lack of something; how can we prove that violence didn’t happen? Although difficult, Natalie shares with us “something that can be measured is when SafeCampus has repeat callers and when they have people feel like they got something out of a consultation. I consider that to be a success story.”

Working with OYPC and the Youth at UW Network

As a campus resource, SafeCampus is available to work directly with youth programs as a consultation and thought partner. One area of particular collaboration is preventing, identifying and responding to behaviors of concern, actions which may endanger youth or otherwise merit supervisory intervention. At our February Summer Programs Planning meeting, SafeCampus helped youth programs process scenarios that might arise in youth programs and formulate responses. This is just one example of how partnership with SafeCampus can strengthen youth programs’ practices. 

OYPC hopes to help bring more visibility to the full suite of services SafeCampus provides for our community. SafeCampus is more than a response mechanism – they are an integral part of the community and are an “always available” resource to all youth programs. Natalie describes how her team might support a youth program:

“A person might call us if someone is handling a sensitive and urgent case or if a roommate is in danger, or someone might call us about the safety of a minor situation – we might do consultation with callers if they are calling about a mandatory reporting situation and talking them through the “whether” and the “how” – how do we mitigate unintended consequences? And how do we engage in harm reduction to the best of our ability?

In addition to partnering with youth programs, partnering with OYPC directly allows SafeCampus to close the loop or debrief in situations facilitated in Violence Prevention Assessment Team (VPAT) meetings. SafeCampus convenes VPAT meetings, attended by relevant campus partners, in situations where multidisciplinary coordination is needed, for example among SafeCampus, OYPC, Title IX, Emergency Management, and other entities. 

Natalie shares that because community members want to learn about new policies on campus and keep each other up to date on new situations, SafeCampus always looks forward to multidisciplinary collaboration with new partners in order to make the most of everyone’s expertise.

The Future of SafeCampus and Identifying Gaps

SafeCampus is an accomplished department that has been serving and supporting the UW community since 2007, yet they continue to strengthen their involvement to be a greater resource for community members. Looking onward, SafeCampus, alongside OYPC, wants to identify policy gaps and the need to have a more coordinated university response in response to violence prevention. 

Additionally, SafeCampus wants to hear from YOU! SafeCampus appreciates and enjoys the opportunities to hear from community members to understand potential scenarios and solutions, and what SafeCampus’ role would be in these scenarios. As Natalie says, “it’s fun for us to meet partners that we don’t get the chance to talk to often and to hear from everyone’s perspective.”

SafeCampus recognizes establishing healthy workplaces through actions such as formulating group agreements is a form of violence prevention that can be promoted university-wide. SafeCampus is always looking to intervene sooner when it comes to prevention work; therefore, it’s important for the university to expand the promotion of healthier work environments to prevent bullying and discrimination in the workplace. SafeCampus has resources for survivors of both violence and discrimination. In response to addressing workplace discrimination and violence, SafeCampus is committed to assessing who on their team can best help the survivor, and how they can best support them through their process and their options.

SafeCampus is a Resource to all

It can feel overwhelming to know when to call SafeCampus. However, Natalie and the SafeCampus team want to emphasize that anyone can call SafeCampus anonymously to consult about their current situation or hypothetical situations. SafeCampus is here to help in any way possible and to overcome barriers to our community getting the services they need.

The Office of the Title IX Coordinator has produced a training video that simulates a SafeCampus call. This resource will soon be available to our community so folks can get a sense of what a real call would look like — so stay tuned for updates!

A BIG THANK YOU to Natalie for taking the time out of her busy and important work to share her stories with all of us as a part of Youth at UW!

SafeCampus Number: 206-685-7233, Available 24 hours / 7 days a week

Email ( monitored weekdays 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Housing Arrangements Made Possible by Jason Sharp with Conference Services

As we approach the 2022 summer season, our Youth at UW community looks forward to working closely with the Conference Services department to help plan on-campus housing arrangements for youth programs. Conference Services offers planning expertise and support to organizers of professional conferences, workshops, and meetings. The UW hosts conferences of all shapes and sizes, from academic conferences to both UW- and Third Party-led youth camps to large scale poster sessions. Conference Services have decades of experience coordinating conferences, and they work with their clients every step of the way to ensure their conference is an unforgettable success!

The OYPC team interviewed Jason Sharp, the Conference Coordinator for Conference Services. Jason has been a great partner to the Youth at UW community, helping to provide housing and dining options and support logistics for our network.

Getting Started & Working with OYPC

Jason joined the Conference Services team in May 2019 and although Jason has been on board for about 3 years now, the department has been at the UW for over 50 years! Jason’s busiest season comes in June – September when the bulk of residence halls empty out for the summer. As a conference coordinator, Jason works closely with internal and external affiliated programs to provide services and housing. Since COVID, the Conference Services team has changed significantly. The current team consists of 2 conference coordinators, 1 operations manager and housing occupancy manager, 1 assistant director and 2 student employees – a total of 6 employees compared to the previous team of 15 full time staff and about 25 resident conference assistants in the summer. 

Some of the Conference Services include providing intern housing on the UW campus, offering academic guest housing for prospective students, families, and lecturers, as well as working with EH&S to provide isolation housing during COVID-19. Jason shares with us that while their “bread and butter” is conferences, as a department they also offer other programs, such as registration services, where they take care of the payment and processes for attendees on behalf of the conferences. 

Conference Services has worked closely with UW and third party led youth programs to house their participants in on-campus facilities. From football camps to FIUTS Youth Ambassadors (, many youth have called UW home for a short time, thanks to Conference Services. Additionally, Jason expressed his gratitude for the Youth at UW network, saying,

“We are so appreciative of all these programs and to even be on the radar with UW youth programs feels wonderful. We are always looking to connect with new and old clients and I’m happy to offer consultations with as much information I have on hand.”

Overcoming Challenges & Raising New Questions

Like for so many departments, COVID has also drastically changed how Conference Services communicates with their clients and operates their services. Jason shares with us how his team was able to adapt to the pandemic and the different types of challenges they encountered and were able to overcome. 

One big challenge was communication – Jason and his team needed to make sure they were able to still communicate all vital information to not only their clients, but their guests.

“One thing I found that was a shift in operations during the pandemic was that, now, we communicate so much more frequently and more directly with our guests whereas in years past, more of our communication was filtered to our conference organizers who would then filter that communication to their guests, so we stepped in and became more direct to the guests because the nature of keeping people up to date during COVID 

Another challenge, which Jason expressed is “universal right now,” is limited staffing. Conference Services had to find alternative ways to continue providing excellent customer service despite their staffing shortage. Prior to COVID, conference services operated 24/7 conference desk hubs in Willow Hall and Lander Hall to accommodate all guests who check-in or had needs after hours. The 24-hour conference desk was a way for Conference Services to ensure all guests have a positive check in and check out experience. As a result of no longer having a conference assistant onsite at all times, for the last 2 summers, guests who come in after hours are routed to an on-call Resident Assistant to help guests check in. 

The last challenge Jason shared is the “level of uncertainty as an ingredient in planning.” Jason shares with us the complexities of maintaining relationships with clients, but not having all the answers to their questions. For example, Jason and his team ask themselves,

“What are our housing and dining rates going to be? Are we able to provide legacy housing (housing with community bathrooms) or stick to new residence construction with private bathrooms? What rate do you steer clients towards when you know you may not have all the buildings in your inventory?”

Jason and his team recognize the importance of providing programs with the most affordable option possible, especially for youth programs. The team strives to make their services both affordable and convenient, even given the ever-changing nature of the pandemic.

Looking Forward

As we march on into unprecedented new times, Jason and his team have found new permanent solutions to problems raised during the pandemic. Prior to being housed on campus, all guests must attend a 15-minute safety orientation within 24 hours of checking in. This was a particular concern to youth groups where safety is an especially high priority. With limited staffing, what do you do when you don’t have a lot of onsite conference services assistants that can deliver a safety orientation to the guests? And how do you still get this information to the guests without that staff available?

The team answered their own questions by creating a video orientation alongside the internal Marketing and Communications department to create and finetune a script. Guests are now able to watch and review the safety orientation video prior to checking in, a great example of maintaining effective communication and adaptability to adopting digital platforms to share information. Anecdotally, Jason noticed fewer questions and concerns coming from guests because of the accessibility and convenience of the video. 

Jason describes the pandemic as “painful” for this department, but as a silver lining because it afforded his team opportunities to improve their operations to meet a new demographic of guests who prefer service in a more visual and digitized format.

“A lot of paper processes have become digitized, which is major. I think my department has been wanting to shift towards that for a while but haven’t been able to make grand steps towards that. The pandemic has forced us to move forward more digitally, we found a reason to evolve, a lot of our billings and processes are digital that were not before, we’re saving trees which feels good!”

You can find Jason and the Conference Services department on the UW Seattle campus at Terry Hall. A BIG THANK YOU to Jason for taking the time out of his busy life to share his stories with all of us as a part of Youth at UW!

To learn more about and to contact Conference Services and to initiate a quote, visit

Check out a video for Conference Services here: UW HFS | Conference Services

Staying safe with Ellie at EH&S

Helping us stay safe and protected is the Environmental Health & Safety Department, a UW administrative department that assists organizational units in meeting their responsibility to protect the environment and to provide a safe and healthful place for employment and learning. EH&S supports all three UW campuses, all UW medical centers, and all university affiliated operations. To get to know this important partner better, OYPC team had the pleasure of interviewing Ellie Wade, an EH&S Occupational Health and Safety Manager at OYPC works with regularly.

Getting Started & Working with the OYPC

An industrial hygienist by trade, Ellie joined EH&S’s Recreational and Occupational Safety (ROS) group in February 2016. There are six different sections in EH&S   that help UW create a safe and healthy environment – Ellie sits in Research Safety, which includes biosafety officers, lab safety services, diving and boating safety and more. 

EHS consists of science-minded professionals who, with a consulting mindset, help our campus stay on the right side of health and safety regulations. We aid the UW community to minimize exposures and accidents that may happen to our workers, students, and volunteers.

Ellie and her colleague, Judy Cashman, work together to provide health and safety guidance  in biological research and animal care and use settings as part of their primary objectives.

Before partnering with OYPC, EH&S held individual consultations with lab groups that wanted high school students to come in for shadowing or research requirements. There are specific legal requirements for youth working in STEM environments, particularly in dealing with hazardous chemicals and equipment, and depending on their age. Ellie shares that navigating this area of youth safety as a non-subject matter expert can be difficult, so EH&S advises UW personnel on what activities youth are allowed to do in those spaces. When met with the task, an outline was created for minors in STEM which was then brought to Caroline here at OYPC to proofread, approve and make sure everything stays up to date and current. The resulting document, Safety Considerations for Youth in STEM Environments, has been an important resource for youth programs. 

EH&S staff are often guest speakers or presenters at OYPC-hosted forums – this allows EH&S to create connections with other partners to provide health and safety consultations to our Youth at UW network! 

COVID-19 & Youth Safety

Ellie Wade and many others on the EH&S team work hard behind the scenes to stay up to date with the University to help outline all COVID-19 regulations. Thanks to Ellie, Katia Harb, EH&S Senior Director, and the EH&S department, we are able to mitigate challenges with restrictions in order to continue programming and engaging safely with one another.   

With the pandemic changing the course of how we view university health and safety protocols at such short notice – how did EH&S respond as efficiently and effectively as they did? Ellie explained that “controlling exposure to infections can be similar to controlling exposure to other hazardous materials”, allowing her and her colleagues to understand and interpret the public health measures needed to keep COVID controlled despite never having experienced a pandemic before. 

Prior to the pandemic, the UW’s Advisory Committee on Communicable Disease  (facilitated by EH&S) consisted of 10-20 members that met every quarter. It has now turned into a committee of 30-40 members that meets weekly. Since then, the EH&S COVID Response team have worked with ACCD and written extensive guidance and regulatory frameworks for groups that want to come back to the office on UW campuses. Ellie has been the primary EH&S point of contact for OYPC- helping apply these frameworks for youth settings.

Ellie continues to work closely with OYPC to understand and outline the logistics for keeping youth, faculty and volunteers safe.

How do we provide a safe learning environment for kids on our campus spaces with the Department of Health and COVID safety guidelines in mind? And how do we help programs navigate that independently – each program creating their own COVID-19 Prevention Plans well as implementing them?

Challenges and Goals

As we navigate the “new normal”, EH&S continues to confidently guide the UW community on the best practices to keep each other healthy. As seamless as the protocol roll-out process may seem, there is still adversity faced by EH&S when taking into account the UW community as a whole. Ellie was clear about what she felt was one of the greatest challenges of her department – increasing visibility of the EH&S department so more people are aware what the requirements and expectations are on health and safety at the UW. Additionally, having to include all pieces of information and detail to reach a broad spectrum of people is challenging. Ellie wants to share with the community that, “we are not the safety police, we are here to help people navigate [these times] and provide consultations to guide you with the right tools throughout the entire process”.

EH&S spends a lot of time improving their outreach and engagement, making sure they reach the right people. EH&S’s strategic goals and objectives are:

Safety Culture: We foster a healthy and safe culture at UW.
Compliance: We provide a pathway for compliance with regulatory requirements.
Learning and Growth: We promote training, development, and continuous improvement for EH&S staff.
Resources: We align resources with strategic priorities.(Source)

You can find Ellie and most of the EH&S department on campus in the T-Wing of the Health Sciences Building, and in Hall Health Center. A BIG THANK YOU to Ellie for taking the time out of her busy life to share her stories with all of us as a part of Youth at UW!. 

To learn more about and contact EH&S, visit