CREATE-X’s Craig Forest Delivers Jack Zeigler Outstanding Educator Lecture

On November 3 Craig Forest, Associate Director of MAKE and Professor in the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering, delivered the 2021 Jack Zeigler Outstanding Educator Lecture in the Wepfer Design Commons. His talk was titled, “Enabling student ownership of making, invention, and entrepreneurship.”

The Zeigler Lecture is given annually by the winner of the Jack M. Zeigler (BME 1948) Woodruff Outstanding Educator Award, created in 1999 to recognize an outstanding educator among the academic faculty of the Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Forest was selected by his peers for this lifetime achievement award in March.

“I’m honored to receive what I have long considered to be the highest teaching honor in the Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering," said Forest. "Since I was an undergraduate at Georgia Tech (class of 2001), I have admired the awardees and dreamt of joining their company.”

Over the past 13 years, Forest has been a leader in transforming the engineering student experience within and outside of Georgia Tech to be more hands-on, team-focused, open-ended, creative, inventive, and entrepreneurial through four foundational programs:

  • The Invention Studio – the largest volunteer student-run makerspace in the nation where students, staff and faculty are empowered to build, tinker, and hack their way to a brighter future. The studio is free and open to the entire Georgia Tech community.
  • The InVenture Prize – a faculty-led innovation competition that brings together student innovators from all academic backgrounds across the Georgia Tech campus in an effort to foster creativity, invention, and entrepreneurship. Partnered with Georgia Public Broadcasting, the InVenture Prize transforms an ordinary invention contest into an electrifying televised competition. In addition, the K-12 InVenture Prize encourages elementary, middle, and high school students to present projects that identify real-world problems and design unique solutions.
  • Capstone Design – a culminating course offered to undergraduate students in several disciplines at Georgia Tech. Students work in teams to design, build, and test prototypes with real world applications. At the end of each semester students showcase their efforts at the Capstone Design Expo.
  • CREATE-X – a Georgia Tech initiative to instill entrepreneurial confidence in students and empower them to launch successful startups.

Forest’s talk focused on how these four programs demonstrate the value and sustainability of a student-owned, hands-on, design-build education to stimulate innovation, creativity, and entrepreneurship in engineering education.

To watch the full lecture, visit
To view photos from the event, visit


Craig Forest is a Professor and Woodruff Faculty Fellow in the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering at Georgia Tech where he also holds program faculty positions in Bioengineering and Biomedical Engineering. He conducts research on miniaturized, high-throughput robotic instrumentation to advance neuroscience and genetic science. Prior to Georgia Tech, he was a research fellow in Genetics at Harvard Medical School. He obtained a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from MIT in June 2007, M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from MIT in 2003, and B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Georgia Tech in 2001. He is cofounder/organizer of one of the largest undergraduate invention competitions in the US—The InVenture Prize, and founder/organizer of one of the largest student-run makerspaces in the US—The Invention Studio. He was a Fellow in residence at the Allen Institute for Brain Science in Seattle, WA. Forest was named Engineer of the Year in Education for the state of Georgia in 2013 and was a finalist on the ABC reality TV show "American Inventor.” 

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Ashley Ritchie