Marc Bouchet (pictured above with the Design For America team) graduated from Case Western Reserve University in 2017 with his bachelor's degree in Aerospace, Aeronautical, and Astronautical Engineering. He now works as an analyst and investor for TDK Ventures in San Francisco.
How did you spend your time at Sears think[box]?
I have always loved tinkering and working on things but didn’t have a space to do so. I initially went to think[box] because of Design for America (DFA). We could convene as a student organization, hold workshops, and use prototyping tools all in one place. It was perfect. We had DFA members from multiple Schools, so think[box] served as a central meeting ground. It was awesome to have people across disciplines hanging out and working together.
Through a few senior projects, I made more use of the machinery such as the CNC machines and 3D printers. I was doing a lot of composites work and had ample space to vacuum bag items and cure 3D prints. I could leave things overnight and know the doors would be locked and my projects would be safe.
What aspects of think[box] were most helpful to you?
It was helpful to have prototyping tools available to me, but it was most helpful to have a space to go to work. I could always find a good study spot. There would be an available desk, fast wifi and a quiet space. I think more students should use think[box] as a study space.
My senior projects also would not have happened without think[box]. I would not have had access to the machinery anywhere else.
What skills did you learn at think[box] and how did those skills carry over into what you do now?
I no longer work in engineering, but I still use technical skills when I work with startups. I understand the process required to create products, and I can provide feedback to entrepreneurs on what makes a product functional.
The most impactful thing I learned was how to collaborate with the administration at think[box]. If I had a new idea or something I wanted to bring into the space, all I had to do was ask. I learned how to plan for change, how to visually represent my ideas, how to communicate with different stakeholders, and how to build a network.
What piece of advice would you give to a first time think[box] user?
I would give the classic advice of, “what you put in is what you get out.” If there’s something you want to do, there's a chance think[box] can enable it. It’s a matter of asking questions and seeing who can help you. The staff is eager to help. Whether you want to add a machine, host an event, or request project space, think[box] can work to fit your needs.
What was your favorite thing you did at think[box]?
Some of my favorite memories were the events we did with DFA and think[box]. The student project showcases were awesome. It was cool to bring a bunch of people together in one space to showcase all of the unique projects. Working and helping out at those events was memorable.
The Student Project Fund is unique. Having a few hundred dollars to use towards whatever project you want is hard to find elsewhere.
We had fun -- we did fun shenanigans. We took over a wall on the second floor with post-it notes. It was a silly thing that only lasted a week or two, but it didn’t have to be stiff and permanent. It created an interactive space.