Alumni reconnect with DMSE in the forge

The department’s FORGE Initiative opens the workshop for a blacksmithing class.
Categories: Alumni, Events

With new educational programming through the FORGE Initiative, DMSE is ensuring that members of the community can continue learning from the department even after they’ve graduated. The alumni relations program hosted its first “FORGE in the forge,” an introductory blacksmithing class for alumni, on April 26.
“I wanted to take this blacksmithing class because I wanted to be back in the forge,” said Kevin Santillan, SB ’20. “I was here when I was a student. I did a bunch of blacksmithing, casting, metal sculpting, and I haven’t been able to come back.”
Most of the alumni who took part in the class had never blacksmithed before. 
“I always wanted to do this,” said Mark Cox, SM ’90, who worked with Professor Mert Flemings, after whom the materials processing lab where the blacksmithing, casting, jewelry making, and other classes are held. “Having the opportunity was great.”
Blacksmithing in the forge is offered to DMSE students at MIT during Independent Activities Period, but the popular class fills up minutes after it is announced every year.
“I kept narrowly missing being able to take blacksmithing when I was a student,” said Natalie Nicolas, SB ’18. “I tried to sign up for it so many times. And I’m so excited to be able to do it. It’s such a fun art form.”
“It’s nice to see everyone again,” said Mike Tarkanian, senior lecturer at DMSE and alum who taught the blacksmithing class. “I know most of the room, so doing this with them is a lot of fun.” 
The class taught the alumni how to make a S-hook, used for hanging things like plants and coats, which allowed them to get familiar with the basics of sharpening, curving, and twisting, and polishing iron.
“We’re going to do a second class where we make something a little more advanced, and once they’ve gone through that they’ll know enough to come to the forge’s open hours,” said Tarkanian. Open hours in the forge are a weekly time slot. Students or alumni who have taken the requisite introductory class and safety trainings can book time and work on projects of their choosing.
“The class was excellent; I learned so much,” said Maddie Sutula, SB ’19, SM ’22. “I’ll absolutely be back.”
FORGE will hold more blacksmithing classes in the future, with the second coming this summer.

To learn more about FORGE or to get involved visit or write to Ximena Hasbach at

DMSE alumni show off the S-hooks they made in the forge on April 26. Photo: Ximena Hasbach