Staff Spotlight: Jake Juracka

Feb 18, 2022

The Garage team plays a key role in our community. We are committed to help Northwestern students grow through the journey of entrepreneurship, and our small team is here as a resource! We recently brought on a new team member, Jake Juracka. Jake is The Garage’s Technology Manager (maybe you’ve seen him working on projects in our Makerspace) and oversees all of the toys and tech in our 11,000 square foot space! We wanted to get to know our newest team member better with some Q&A, and highlight a few of the prototyping resources available to students! 

We’re so excited to welcome you to the team at The Garage! Can you share a bit about yourself and your background? 

I grew up in Frankfort, Illinois and got my undergraduate degree in Video Game Development from DePaul University in Chicago. It was at DePaul where I found my love of digital fabrication, that is, using digital tools to create things in the real world. This fascination led me to work as DePaul’s 3D printing specialist during my time there as a student. After college, I moved on to work as Lead Quality Inspector at an industrial 3D printing company. I’m very excited to be returning to an educational role, and look forward to many great things at The Garage!

What will you be doing as the Technology Manager at The Garage? 

My role essentially has me overseeing all pieces of technology here at The Garage. From our copy-printer, to our Makerspace equipment, to our AV system, and everything in between, I’ll be making sure The Garage runs smoothly and has the best and newest technology available to our students.

The Makerspace's Prototyping Lab

What resources are available to students in The Makerspace's Prototyping Lab and AR/VR Lab?

Here in The Makerspace's Prototyping Lab, we have a variety of fabrication equipment available to students who are participants in our programs. We have 3D printers, CNC routers, Laser Engravers, and many other tools and equipment that will let our students realize their creative visions. More about the equipment we have available, and the form to schedule a training session, is available here.

As for our AR/VR space, we have the latest and greatest in virtual Reality technology, here for anyone to try out and play with. Students are encouraged to stop by and experience this technology! More about the AR/VR technology housed at The Garage is available here.

The Makerspace's AR/VR Lab

What was your very first impression of The Garage when you walked in?

I was impressed with the ethos of The Garage. Upon first walking in, I could tell The Garage was a place where I wanted to spend time. Whether for work or hanging out with friends, The Garage is such a welcoming environment. I’m excited to now be a part of that team and hope to make The Garage even more welcoming and accessible to everyone who wants to visit!

What is your favorite technology out there right now?

I think this is a very pivotal moment for VR tech. As the big companies vie for control of this new virtual world, I’m hopeful that VR can break away from the corporate control and become an accessible new universe that promotes freedom and limitless possibilities, where you can have meaningful experiences with friends and explore the full spectrum of what this technology has to offer!

What entrepreneur (dead or alive!) do you look up to the most?

Probably Nikola Tesla. He had skills and knowledge decades beyond his time, and was instrumental in bringing society into the modern era of electricity. Though he wasn’t financially successful, the lasting impact he had on the world will be noticeable for centuries to come.

What are you most excited about when it comes to working at The Garage? 

I’m definitely the most excited about meeting and working with our student entrepreneurs. I pride myself on my knowledge of the equipment we have at our disposal here, and very much look forward to becoming more familiar with each of our students’ projects and helping them to make the most of The Garage’s resources to bring their designs to life!

What’s a fun / interesting fact about you that we don’t already know? 

I’m a triplet! I’ve got two sisters, who I currently live with in the Lakeview neighborhood in Chicago. I think we get along far better than other siblings I know, and I’m happy that we’re all living and working here in the city! 

How can students get in touch with you or learn more about the technology and resources available to them at The Garage?

I can be reached at, as well as through The Garage student workspace on Slack, where you can message me directly, or join the conversations with other students who are using The Makerspace to design amazing things!

About the Author