Where community, education, & industry come together to support Lane County youth in invention, education, and career-connected learning.

Located in downtown Eugene, SparkLab is a central hub for Lane County youth to learn, innovate, collaborate, and create. Providing extended out-of-school education and training opportunities for STEM and much more, youth can grow their skills, become confident problem-solvers, and gain hands-on experience. We hope you'll consider making a donation today!
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Programs and Services

Invention Lab Youth at the Student Showcase

In July 2021, SparkLab opened with its first official program, Invention Lab: a five-week, paid experience for high school students to learn skills in the invention process, build technical skills, and gain experience in human-centered design. The goal of Invention Lab is to empower generations of creators, inventors, and leaders in addressing complex issues. For this summer program, students were tasked with creating devices to monitor air quality and CO2 levels in indoor spaces. Youth presented their inventions to the public on the last day of the program. Not only did they work together to create a working invention and prepare professional presentations, but they also created many friendships and learned to stretch their skills. One day a week was dedicated to enrichment activities including connecting the youth to the outdoors and learning about Afrofuturism.

Invention Club focuses on empowering students to become inventors and to create solutions for the community. Two cohorts of participants attend weekly meetings hosted by advisors and mentors to apply skills like human-centered design and rapid prototyping to their own invention projects. Participants form teams and at the end of the year, each team can enter into the Oregon MESA Day competition hosted at Portland State University. Invention Club, including the costs of the trip to Portland, is completely free to students and families. Save the Date: Invention Club MESA Day Showcase at Portland State University on May 20, 2022. Please contact Justin Thibedeau with any questions.

the Agency youth working on a project together

The Agency is a blend of education and work experience in a paid position. This opportunity was extended to previous Invention Lab participants and summer interns who were recognized as taking on intellectual challenges with focus, assertiveness, and a strong sense of responsibility. The first cohort of the Agency consists of 10 interns who meet weekly at SparkLab for the full school year. The Agency experience kicks off with interns learning the ins and outs of the tools, machinery, and possibilities within SparkLab. From there, the Agency interns apply their new and existing skills toward completing projects submitted by local businesses and nonprofits. So far, the Agency has completed two projects with additional projects in the works. Check out the Student Projects section below to see some of the amazing work this group has produced to date. Have an idea for a project? Please contact Justin Thibedeau.

With the creation of SparkLab, we added fee-for-service offerings to generate income for reinvestment into our programming and to engage the community at large. Our fee-for-service offerings at SparkLab include birthday party rentals and private events. Birthday Party Rentals: Birthday parties are limited to 10 children. Party-goers will have a two-hour window to experience SparkLab, enjoy a hands-on activity, and celebrate. Birthday party rentals start at $300. Private Events & Corporate Team-Building Workshops: Group events are limited to 50 people max. Pricing starts at $500.

Birthday party at SparkLab
Rent SparkLab

In addition to rentals and private events, we also offer workshops with open registration. Be sure to check the SparkLab calendar below, follow us on social media, or join our newsletter to stay up to date on the latest events.

Workshops at SparkLab

Fee-based workshops are open to the general public. We want the whole community to experience the resources at SparkLab. Income generated from these workshops will be re-invested into our programming to help us serve those who need us most.

Build marshmallow catapults and towers followed by friendly competition.

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Produce a stop motion animation video.

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Student Projects

Orchid Pots

Agency youth worked with a local client in need of custom-designed orchid pots. The youth went through the engineering design process by interviewing the client to establish needs for the project, then used 3D modeling to design and iterate more functional pots.

Orchid pots designed by the Agency
Youth and mentor hanging coats

Winter Coats

Celeste Peterson from Palo Alto Software volunteered six evenings teaching the Agency youth to fix and replace broken zippers. The youth were able to turn 21 rejected coats donated by the Columbia Factory Store into good-as-new clothing. These winter coats will be donated to unhoused youth.

Custom Picnic Tables

Craig—a high school senior—submitted an Elevate mentorship application seeking a mentor to help him further his woodworking knowledge and experience before graduation. We paired Craig with Mark Bruer of Essex General Construction, Inc. Mark supported Craig through designing and building three picnic tables for SparkLab. These picnic tables have already been a valuable addition to SparkLab! Nice work Craig and Mark!

Interested in learning more about our mentorship program? Sign up for our monthly newsletter.

SparkLab Mural

Mural for SparkLab Lobby

We commissioned Brynn, a former Elevate mentorship participant, to create a mural for the lobby area of SparkLab. Using our logo and colors, she created this amazing work of art! We love how it turned out and think it perfectly captures the essence of the Lab.

Name & Colors for SparkLab

We wanted SparkLab to be student-centered from the beginning. Over several weeks, a team of South Eugene HS freshmen worked with our team and a local industry mentor to pitch their idea, and we couldn’t be happier with what they came up with. Thank you to Jeyla, Ashley, Grace, and Nova for your hard work!

“Through several weeks of brainstorming and development, we came up with the name ‘SparkLab’. We thought this conveyed our intention of the space which is to focus on the engineering aspect and to “spark” inspiration in the youth of our community. When designing our color palette, we thought that having bright colors, but also lighter, more subtle tones would help the space feel like somewhere people can create and think with limitless possibilities.”

Industry-informed

Our industry partners help to prepare students for life after high school by outfitting SparkLab with industry-standard tools and equipment, providing mentors, hosting summer interns, and much more!

Our Partners

Get in Touch

Sponsorship & Partnership Inquiries

Interested in sponsoring SparkLab?

Please contact Heidi Larwick for information.

Media Inquiries

Please contact Becky-Jo Samples.

Donations

Interested in supporting SparkLab? Donate Today!

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In the News

Read all the great things being said about SparkLab!

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