School of Engineering Honors Students with Dean’s Award for Designing a Tool to Help Individuals with Arthritis

Submitted by Meg McCaffrey on May 26, 2010

pr_soedesigngroup10aAt the beginning of each academic year, Fairfield University School of Engineering faculty present seniors with challenging design projects. Students are asked to create products or processes that are very much needed in the marketplace but have not been invented yet, such as tools that can be crucial to a segment of the population.

The 2010 Dean’s Award – for the design project that stood above all the others this year – was given to three students who created a device to help severely arthritic people open food jars. Stephanie Ambrose, of Syracuse, N.Y., Ken Carroll, of Shelton, Conn., and Brandon Guarino, of Queens, N.Y., received the prize for ‘Tools for Arthritics I,’ a handheld appliance made in the School’s laboratories. They developed it as part of “Senior Design Project I and II,” a fall and spring course taught by Jerry Sergent, Ph. D., in which students work in groups to come up with answers to design challenges.

E. Vagos Hadjimichael, Ph.D., dean of the School of Engineering, said the design projects at the undergraduate level, and the similarly themed capstone projects at the graduate student level, put the finishing touches to an engineering student’s education. “The projects provide opportunities to the students to work in interdisciplinary teams, to develop initiative and leadership,” he said. “Most of all, they sharpen their competencies in problem solving, and in creativity and innovation which are the hallmark of all engineering disciplines.”

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