In the shadows, void of limelight, lurks a small band of unsung heroes in the fight against coronavirus.
Sydni Schneberger, 21, of Minco, is among them. She is a 2017 graduate of Canadian Valley Technology Center’s Pre-Engineering program. She then enrolled at Oklahoma State University in pursuit of a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering.
As the virus worsened in recent weeks, Schneberger read about a worldwide shortage of personal, protective equipment (PPE) for medical personnel. According to the World Health Organization, Covid-19 (short for “coronavirus disease 2019”) can easily be spread and can lead to a severe respiratory illness or death. PPE safeguards medical professionals who treat persons with the virus.
That is what drives Schneberger to, well, drive each day to campus. OSU has a brand new building called, “Endeavor.” It is set apart for engineering students to expand instruction beyond the classroom and to increase undergraduate tinker time within a world-class laboratory.
Students have access to 20 rapid prototyping, 3D printers. Schneberger was one of just four students permitted to continue working in the lab once the virus became a national crisis.
A fellow student saw 3D-printed masks on social media and shared the idea with the group to embark upon a mission to help medical professionals acquire PPE of exceptional quality. They began consulting with experts, and through trial and error began manufacturing lots of equipment.
“We are still making them as orders come in,” Schneberger said “I’m not sure how many we have made to date, but it is probably nearing 300. We also make face shields, and I believe we’ve done over 2,500.”
The equipment is distributed to a multitude of hospitals statewide and to medical facilities in and around Stillwater.
“It’s really great being able to still work on campus and have a sense of normalcy, but more importantly, it feels awesome to be able to make a difference in peoples’ lives through this,” she said. “Having doctors come in and look at our designs and help us make them better so that we can help them has been a great learning experience and something I know I’ll carry with me forever.”
Schneberger believes better days are ahead. She looks forward to completing her degree in 2021 and plans to work in either the energy or aerospace industries.