Skyler Carr: Spaceman and Entrepreneur
Skyler Carr grew up dreaming of traveling through space and hunting aliens. His favorite day in grade school included a trip to the Space Center in Pleasant Grove, where he could practice being a spaceman. He never forgot those days, and in 2012 he was devastated to hear the Space Center would be shut down.
The next year, Carr was a senior in the entrepreneurship program at the Marriott School when his friends came to him with the idea to bring the Space Center back to life. After becoming involved, Carr not only brought the original space and alien simulations back, but also transformed the entire system into a software platform for experiential learning in schools around the country.
The Space Center was originally created in 1983 by elementary school science teacher Victor Williamson. Schools and parents could book the site for birthday parties, field trips, and camps where kids could go on a spacecraft simulator and catch aliens.
Carr and his colleagues wanted to get the center up and running as it had been, but then they recognized they could provide students and teachers with much more. They started making changes in the software with the idea to market the simulation system to local schools for use in the classroom.
While still in school, Carr realized evolving the space center would take more time and attention than he had thought. Carr had to rely on the support of professors, the Rollins Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology, and local entrepreneurs to get his feet on the ground before taking off with a whole new company.
“I accidentally started the company,” says Carr, who graduated in 2014. “It was more of a happenstance get-together where we had an idea for a fun program, but it took off because it was bigger than we thought.”
The newly developed company, now known as INFINI D Learning, has far greater reach than the original program due to the high accessibility of its software. Rather than having students come to the center, the center can reach students anytime, anywhere. Schools can access the software to use in computer labs for less than the cost of a field trip and can use it for the entire school year.
The learning software is prebuilt, animated, and curriculum-based, and can be applied to any subject. For example, students can learn about a math theory and test it in a lifelike space simulation the following week.
“The engagements that kids get in the classroom produce incredible results,” Carr says. “It’s expanded to be anything you can imagine, and it applies to every subject, even language arts and social studies.”
Carr didn’t produce such results without facing obstacles and challenges, and to this day he reaches out to mentors he met through the entrepreneurship program for ideas and solutions.
“Some major challenges are the fact that we’re doing something no one’s done before,” Carr says. “You can’t look up how to build a spaceship that’s accessible on all school technology in every state, so there are very specific people I can go to for mentoring in that area.”
He continues to use the resources he first discovered through the entrepreneurship program to find solutions to today’s challenges, and people he met at BYU still come to him with answers and support.
“My favorite thing is waking up every day having no idea how to solve a problem, and later ending up in the office with someone who will help me solve it by the end of the day,” he says.