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Helping at Home

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is in high demand across the world, and history major Tiffini Eckenrod ’20 is determined to help local organizations in need.

One of the important pieces of equipment that medical professionals use daily during the COVID-19 crisis are face shields that can help block the virus-spreading droplets from touching the wearers’ faces.

Eckenrod, working under the guidance of entrepreneur-in-residence Maureen Cumpstone and physics and math faculty members Casey Schwarz and Lisa Grossbauer, has been making and providing 3D printed face shields to local Pennsylvania organizations in need.

In just under one week, Eckenrod was able to print more than 60 plastic, adjustable head pieces that are used to keep plastic shields in place on the users’ face. The 3D printers were provided for home use by the U-Imagine Center and the math & computer science department.

The Ursinus team is a part of a larger group called the Berks PPE Resource Network that shares the collective goal of producing, collecting and distributing 3D printed face shields to help protect those in our community who need it. The network has produced more than 7,000 face masks for 105 different organizations including healthcare providers, grocery stores and police departments.

“It’s an honor to aid front line workers out there saving lives and risking theirs by helping to create 3D printed PPE,” said Schwarz.

The collaboration between departments began when Schwarz, who had heard of the Berks PPE Resource Network through a colleague, wanted to get involved and found that Cumpstone and Eckenrod had the same idea. Naturally, they joined forces and, with the help of math and computer science instructor Grossbauer, started making PPE.

“Tiffini is such an amazing student who has given us her time and energy during this challenging time. She really reflects what it means to be a UC student,” Schwarz added.

Organizations in need can register for 3D printed face shields here. Anyone who would like to donate or has a 3D printer and would like to get involved can visit the Berks PPE Resource Network website for more details. –By Mary Lobo ’15

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