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Shielding Health Professionals

Makerspace staff and students doing their part in pandemic
Story Series

Daniel Borden, ’22, was up late recently, but not to study for an exam in one of his Bridgewater State University classes. Instead, he was brainstorming about how to save lives during the deadly COVID-19 pandemic.

Daniel is part of a group based at BSU’s makerspace working to make face shields and masks for hospital and nursing home staff.

“I really feel that I’m in a position where I can help and it just comes naturally to want to be able to help,” said Daniel, a professional physics major and math minor from Tiverton, Rhode Island. “Bridgewater has given me a chance to be able to do this.”

The plastic face shields will be made using 3D printers and donated to Massachusetts hospitals. The group hopes to assemble a new machine to make thousands of masks for a nursing home using a fabric-like material common in surgical masks.

The team includes Rob Monteith, a BSU analytical instrumentation engineer, and student staff of the makerspace - Kevin Monteith, Joe Matta, Keith Phelan and Andrew DeFino. The makerspace offers a collaborative working environment as well as access to and training on specialized equipment.

These community-minded Bears, with support from the Bartlett College of Science and Mathematics and the Information Technology and Operations divisions, brought together 3D printers from across campus and asked medical professionals what they need.

Monteith also worked with IT staff to give COVID-19 researchers access remotely to BSU computer processing power.

“We have the capability to help, so I think it’s our obligation to provide assistance if we can,” Monteith said. “We want to make sure our university as a whole is safe and make sure our community is as well.”

Daniel connects people within and outside BSU who have relevant expertise. The orientation leader is using leadership skills developed as a student at BSU and Bristol Community College and participant in a NASA academy. He’s also learning software that can design personal protective equipment.

“The university seems very interested in wanting to help any way we can,” he said. “We’re more than just a BSU community. We’re a community to everyone.”

The makerspace website features information on donating to the project.

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