Programs at Denełchin Lab include open-access classes for artists, entrepreneurs, and anyone in the community interested in learning how to use the equipment. The lab is the headquarters for Indigenous Peoples Setup Shop a business-training program run by CITC/Anchorage Community Land Trust.
CITC has also developed a curriculum that is shared with other fab laboratories in the state. “We’re in twenty-plus communities, and that is growing. We have a vision of a hub-and-spoke model,” O’Neill says.
Projects completed by CITC’s Fab Lab cohorts range from kuspuks and dance fans augmented with portable LED bulbs to a “widget” that BP engineers devised to improve a process on the North Slope.
In another case, O’Neill recalls, “A young woman, she was being treated for cancer, so she had a [vein access] It was a really uncomfortable port. So she went to the Fab lab and designed her own port. Now she’s working with a patent lawyer.”
One more work being made at—and for—the Denełchin Lab is a decorative mask in honor of Amy Fredeen, who was CITC’s chief financial officer when she died in a car crash last summer. In her memory, a fellowship was established to provide intensive mentorship for aspiring entrepreneurs.
The tools inside the Super Fab Lab are force multipliers, amplifying the talent and motivation of the community under CITC’s aegis. “It takes a community to make opportunity,” O’Neill says.