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Learn as you make a difference

September 18, 2015

Students enrolled in the mechanical engineering Capstone course are earning more than a letter grade this year.  They are providing real-world solutions for a mother in a wheelchair with a baby.

Drs. Kleinke and McClelland (center) oversee Alden Kane's project

This summer, Alden Kane, a senior at the University of Detroit Jesuit High School, designed and built a first prototype device that allows a paraplegic mother to easily transport her baby on her wheelchair.  (See High School researcher provides mobility to paraplegic mother).

“Capstone students will be making incremental improvements to the Alden’s prototype with input from the client, Sharina Jones,” says Dr. Darrell Kleinke, department chair of mechanical engineering.  “By the end of the course, it must be working and delivered to the client.”

The students in the course are not only engineers but include nursing students from the University of Detroit Mercy and virtually connected biomedical students from Lawrence Technological University and Marquette University in Wisconsin. 

“Working virtually and as a team will be challenging,” says Kleinke.  “Sometime during the semester, students will forget about grades, focus on the client and want to complete the project for her.  As an instructor, it is exciting to see this transformation take place.”

As for Kane, in an interview with Deena Centofanti from WJBK television, Fox2, he described his experience as “priceless” to see his work making a difference in transporting Sharina Jones’s son.

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