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College of Education names winner in 3D printer contest

Sallie Zetterower Elementary STEM teacher and winning proposal writer Ansley Mays (pictured left) explains to her 5th grade class some of the projects she hopes to accomplish with the use of their new 3D printer. Looking on in the background (l-r) are College of Education’s Eunbae Lee, Ph.D., Dean Thomas Koballa, and Mete Akcaoglu, Ph.D.


Sallie Zetterower Elementary School was named the winner of the 3D Printer for Your School contest hosted by the College of Education’s Innovation Studio at Georgia Southern University. The printer was delivered to the Sallie Zetterower Elementary STEM Lab on Monday during the 5th grade STEM class.

In October, the College announced it was accepting proposals for a contest to provide the use of a 3D printer for an area school. In an effort to expand their partnerships with P-12 schools, Innovation Studio founders and College of Education faculty Mete Akcaoglu, Ph.D., and Eunbae Lee, Ph.D., established the contest to provide an opportunity for collaboration while offering students the chance to broaden their problem solving and critical thinking skills through STEM activities.

“Through hands-on experiences with new technologies, like the 3D printer, the Innovation Studio shows all of our learners that technology can be both a tool to create and to educate others about the learning process,” said Akcaoglu.

Proposals required schools to detail plans for use of the 3D printer as well as learning outcomes for students.

“The proposal from Sallie Zetterower was a very strong proposal that was well planned,” explained Lee.

The plan includes ideas to combine 3D printing activities with the school’s growing outdoor classroom. Each grade will have specific performance tasks that can be related to units commonly covered in their math or science classes.  

Pictured l-r: COE Dean Thomas Koballa; Bulloch County Schools Superintendent Charles Wilson; Sallie Zetterower Elementary STEM teacher Ansley Mays; Sallie Zetterower Elementary Principal Julie Mizell; Chair of the Department of Leadership, Technology, and Human Development Beth Durodoye, Ed.D.; and Founders of the Innovation Studio and COE faculty Mete Akcaoglu, Ph.D. and Eunbae Lee, Ph.D.

Sallie Zetterower award-winning teacher and author of the proposal Ansley Mays’ excitement when telling her 5th grade class about the lab’s newest piece of equipment was contagious.

“One of my passions is the outdoor classroom, and I wanted to find a way to use a 3D printer and connect this project across grade levels,” said Mays. “This printer will provide approximately 700 students with hands-on experiences that enrich their classroom lessons.”

Each of Bulloch County Schools’ nine elementary schools has a STEM Exploratory Lab with a dedicated teacher. All students cycle through the labs at least once each week for supplemental, innovative learning in addition to the science, technology, engineering and math lessons they already receive in their regular classroom setting.

Receiving a printer for the school’s use is not where this project ends. Innovation Studio’s Akcaoglu and Lee will coordinate with the Sallie Zetterower STEM Lab and Mays to help demonstrate the various projects that can be achieved with the use of a 3D printer.

“This will be a new partnership for the Innovation Studio,” explained Lee. “We are excited to collaborate with Sallie Zetterower and hope to also have them even visit the Innovation Studio on campus at Georgia Southern.”

The Innovation Studio is a space in the College of Education dedicated to serving educators, students, staff, youth and local community members to foster a culture of innovation and provide experience with cutting-edge technology. The studio was opened in 2015 with the assistance of funding from the College of Education and houses equipment including 3D printers, a virtual reality headset, large screen projection system, television with video gaming systems, robotics and more.

Innovation Studio Founders Eunbae Lee, Ph.D. (pictured background left) and Mete Akcaoglu, Ph.D. (pictured background right) explain the 3D printing process to the 5th grade STEM class at Sallie Zetterower Elementary.

The College of Education is one of the eight colleges that make up Georgia Southern University. From 1924 to 1955, this institution’s main focus centered on educating or preparing future teachers and the bachelor’s degree in education is the University’s oldest professional degree. In 1992, COE established the University’s first doctoral program. Today, the College prepares future educators and leaders through intensive field experiences, cutting-edge technology and research-based instruction. COE offers four Bachelor of Science in Education majors that prepare students for teacher certification and it offers the Master of Arts in Teaching degree, ten Master of Education degrees, nine education specialist degrees and two doctoral degrees. There are three academic departments in the College of Education: Curriculum, Foundations and Reading; Leadership, Technology, and Human Development; and Teaching and Learning.

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Georgia Southern University, a public Carnegie Doctoral/Research University founded in 1906, offers more than 125 degree programs serving 20,674 students. Through eight colleges, the University offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs built on more than a century of academic achievement. Georgia Southern is recognized for its student-centered and hands-on approach to education. Visit


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