Engaged Graduate Student Grants

An Ethnographic Approach to Fostering Entrepreneurship within Buffalo

Makerspaces are community-operated spaces that provide tinkerers and hobbyists with access to a range of tools and technology, such as 3D printers and laser cutters. These spaces have the potential to significantly impact the American economy by encouraging the local production of goods and reviving manufacturing in the United States. Rohini Jalan, a graduate student in social sciences, is investigating two makerspaces — one in Brooklyn and one in Buffalo — to determine how these spaces engage their communities and foster entrepreneurship. Having observed the makerspace in Brooklyn, Jalan will undertake ethnographic field research at The Foundry, a nonprofit makerspace and business incubator on the East Side of Buffalo. Her research will help these facilities understand how they can increase community participation and create sustainable ties to individuals and organizations working to revitalize the local economy.

The Team

  • Graduate student: Rohini Jalan, social sciences
  • Special committee chair: Marya Besharov, Department of Organizational Behavior
    School of Industrial and Labor Relations
  • Community partner: The Foundry


In the News

APRIL 8, 2016
Exploring “Makerspaces”: Engaged Cornell funds student’s project
ILR School website


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