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Welcome Keith Ranaldi – New Board Member, Old Friend

“We have lot of work to do to show a traditional world of learning how they can allow students of all ages the opportunity to leave the classroom and return with experiences to address academically. It is the spirit of the Natural Philosopher that built our great nation of innovators and entrepreneurs.” ~Keith Ranaldi

FabNewport is very excited to bring Keith Ranaldi to our Board of Directors.

Born and raised in Narragansett, Rhode Island, Keith Ranaldi had strong roots in the community and particularly the school system where his mother was a coach and teacher and his father, an entrepreneur, held a seat on the Narragansett School Committee.

Keith’s journey to FabNewport began over 20 years ago when he and founder, Steve Heath, met at Rocky Hill Country Day. The two creatives would quickly become kindred spirits, touching base year after year through various events in and around Jamestown, RI. After earning a degree in psychology and art at the University of Rhode Island, and became a therapist. As a therapist, Keith was drawn to follow in both his parents footsteps as a coach, and then into town politics, where he spent two terms on the Narragansett school committee. In 2017, Keith obtained his Masters in Product Innovation.

In 2018, Keith again bumped into Steven Heath in North Carolina at the University of Davidson versus University of Rhode Island Men’s basketball game. They would rekindle their long time friendship and make plans to start working together with FabNewport’s next pursuits.

Keith re-entered RI with an externship opportunity pairing up with FabNewport and Rhode Island office of innovation. Soon after that, Keith began officially working for FabNewport doing research and helping run the Newport Experience (NEX). That following fall of 2018 Keith placed his focus on the Providence area where through a mayoral initiative, brought PVD Young Makers to life in 10 community and public libraries. The initiative helped innovate library spaces with makerspace equipment, tools, materials and programming.

“The next four years were filled with exciting new programming established in the MET’s Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship, partnering with Providence After School Alliance, as well as a engaging a dozen schools around Providence. Our number one initiative was to bring learning to life for our student population. We established a robust train-the-trainer program for high school students with paid internships that conduct original teaching and learning in the 10 libraries around Providence”

Keith Ranaldi is the recently appointed Director of Entrepreneurship and Innovation and adjunct in the college of business at the University of Rhode Island, focusing on applying his experience with youth innovation & entrepreneurship programs to college-level learning. He is now able to host many of his former Providence patrons at the makerspace and innovation labs at URI. Helping create the opportunities and accessibility to creative technology and associated mentorship to bring more real world applications to academia is at the heart of the work he wishes to continue as a new board member of the newly rebranded, FABx (Fabnewport).

It is imperative for us to learn from each one of our members. How would you describe your journey? 

“The journey has been a long windy path with a large range of life experiences. My array of perspectives draw from my careers as a therapist, lifeguard, ski instructor, freelance photographer, restaurant general manager, elected political official, athletic coach, deep sea fisherman, graduate assistant, director of FABx’s PVD Young Makers and finally director of Innovation & Entrepreneurship, and adjunct professor at the University of Rhode Island. I am thankful for this kaleidoscope of life experiences because it affords me the ability to connect with a lot of different lifestyles, and offer students many insights into career pathways.”

Based on our hands-on learning. How do you see yourself as a maker?

I make opportunities for hands-on learning through helping create conditions of innovation and entrepreneurship for student engagement. I also make multimedia/mixed media art.

What are you bringing to FabNewport? 

I am able to first bring the type of hands-on learning opportunities we built from FABx/PVD YM into the university setting in order to create opportunities for our middle and high school age students to have easier access and exposure to higher education. Next, we will be able to leverage the robust opportunities, connections and resources through the University of Rhode Island through a mutually beneficial relationship. The ability to have increased engagement with secondary education will lead to more familiarity with university opportunities and connection to important research as well as statewide initiatives.

What are you looking forward to and hope to see as the future of FabNewport? 

The future of FABx is to expand the influence and access sparked from the company’s ability to curate an empowering, accessible and inspirational setting for student interaction. I would like to focus our attention to further develop and research the effects on interdisciplinary learning as it relates to following a student’s passions for their own academic development, community engagement and career successes. Additionally, I aim to see FABx expand said influence through publication, being thought leaders in professional development, and online access to their creative programming development methods.

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