Written in collaboration with Julia Shawver.

On Monday, January 29th, JMU X-Labs hosted its first all-female event. The event, dubbed “Fab Lab”, offered a plethora of activities, all designed to reflect some women’s interests.

The idea behind the event was to raise awareness for the resources X-Labs offers, particularly for women, who seem to be utilizing the space less than their male counterparts.

Before Fab Lab took place, Emma deLeon, a current student who helped organize the event, stated:

“Fab Lab is an event that is very special to me… The idea all stemmed from an observation… made during last fall’s Bluestone Hackathon, which is a 24-hour hackathon hosted by the JMU University Innovation Fellows… At our event we had over 90 participants of which almost all were males… This event is geared towards showing the women of JMU that the JMU X-Labs is a space for everyone no matter your major or gender, and that any idea you have can be brought to life here. The event is going to show the over 250 registered women how they can get involved with the labs, how to use all the technology, and see what it can offer them…This event is important for breaking so many barriers that surround women and girls not only the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) field but also innovation and entrepreneurship.”

The night began with a welcome by JMU alum Amanda Presgraves (’16), who started the Fueled food truck on campus, and Hannah Smith (’18), who shared about her experiences with the JMU X-Labs sustainability/nutrition/business Fueled class.

Next, students from the University Innovation Fellows lead a short activity, and then participants were free to explore everything else X-Labs has to offer.

Participants received three strips of paper and were asked to write their name, major, and their source of inspiration.
All of the strips were then stapled together into a long chain.



There was a science demonstration in which liquid nitrogen was poured into a mixture of cream, sugar, vanilla, and salt. It created vanilla ice cream that the participants got to sample with cookies.


There was room entirely dedicated to black lights. There was even Twister!
Participants could take a shot at Virtual Reality. Fruit Ninja was a popular choice.
Behind X-Labs, there was a drone course set up. If the driver was able to make it through one of the hoops, they received a coupon for the Fueled Truck.
There were wine glasses and participants were able to etch them.
There were also latte stencils.
Starbucks truck
Fueled truck






The Starbucks truck made an appearance as well as the Fueled truck. The Fueled truck is on track to become 100% locally sourced in its ingredients.

Emily Winter, JMU alum and current employee, also helped plan the event. She wants all Dukes to know:

“We are excited by the huge response we got from Fab Lab and we are looking forward to putting on more female-centric programming in the future. If you [were] not able to attend Fab Lab, we are still having events throughout the semester including Pop-up classes and Open Lab hours. Students can follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter (@jmuxlabs) for updates on events. Open Lab hours are Monday-Fridays from 9:30am-2:30pm. The space is free and open to all majors.”

Have you been to the X-Labs yet, Dukes?

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