Students build carbon fiber car with RISE Learning

Students building a carbon fiber car at Bellevue College.
Students building a carbon fiber car at BC. Photos courtesy of Walter Garrido in Institutiojnanal Advancement

On Tuesday July 18 to Wednesday July 19, the Bellevue College RISE Learning Institute held a workshop partnered with Wikispeed where students had the opportunity to build a carbon fiber car. Held in the C building courtyard from 1:30 p.m. to 3:15 p.m., students formed teams to work together building various parts of the car, such as attaching carbon fiber panels to the body.

The car – which is capable of 100 MPG – was brought to campus by Wikispeed, “an open source, nonprofit, MicroFactory where eXtreme Manufacturing is born,” according to Product Owner of Lynnwood Wikispeed and Scrum Master for Global Wikispeed William Newing. “We work mostly with hardware and software companies such as John Deere, Lockeed Martin, Google, General UI, and even Washington State Government to name a few. We provide training in a hands-on approach to better cement the concepts of the Scrum Framework and Agile mindset; easy to understand, difficult to master.”

This is not the first time Wikispeed has been involved with BC students. “We have had consistent volunteers and interns from Bellevue College’s STEM program as well as the rest of the student body,” said Newing. “We aim towards those who wish to learn more about rapid prototyping and manufacturing using current best practices gleaned from the software industry; Agile methodologies.”

The event is one of many workshops featured in the Makers and Scholars Summer Experience that the RISE learning institute is offering to BC students, a STEM focused summer program meant to expose students to hands-on experiences in new technology. “RISE is all about learning by doing,” said RISE Founder Dr. Gita Bangera in a BC press release. “Research shows that hands-on learning helps all students, but it specifically engages students who are underrepresented in higher education. By providing a single point of support for hands-on learning, BC is leading the way nationally among community colleges.” The RISE Learning Insititute focuses on providing equal opportunity to all students – “We want to inspire students to reach their highest potential,” added Bangera.

“What we’re hoping for students to take away is by being exposed to new technologies, that they can envision themselves as inventors, as creators, as builders,” said Director of Program Development at RISE Michael Reese. “A lot of the stuff that we’ve been doing is focused on new technologies and innovative ideas. We just had a workshop last week on Arduino, which is a fully programmable micro controller. We had some students building robots, one building a distance sensor, we had one that built a thermometer that works from a distance, and they did this stuff in an afternoon having no previous exposure to the technology whatsoever.”

“The new RISE space opens in Fall,” added Reese. “We’re opening what is called the RISE labs, there will actually be a space, and one of the things that we’ll be trying to do in Fall is we’ll have a maker’s lab, where some of the kinds of things that students have been engaged in this Summer, they can come and do some workshops, and do that stuff over the course of the year.”

More information on the RISE Learning Institute can be found on their website, or via email at