“I saw a seemingly young COVID-19 positive patient, through a glass door, attached to
a ventilator that I had just set up in the room earlier that day,” says Jake Girard.
Girard, BSME ’21, had been working as a perioperative clinical engineering co-op student for Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) when he suddenly found himself equipping new areas of the hospital to be used as intensive care units for patients who could not breathe on their own.
The importance of this moment and the real-world scenarios that co-op employment could present were abundantly clear to Molly Donahue and Ally Rodriguez, also BSME ’21. As clinical engineer co-ops at MGH, the two were tasked with inspecting, configuring and deploying 3,000 infusion pumps.
“We had to just jump in with the nurses and all learn really fast,” says Donahue.
An impact was also being made down the street at Wentworth. Only essential personnel were on campus after university officials made the decision to move to distance learning and work-from-home formats at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. But a group of faculty members, lab technicians and staff were busy producing face shields for Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
Ryan Bakinowski, BMET ’16, lead technician for Advanced Additive Manufacturing, began the printing process on campus on April 6, using a design from the hospital. The shield headbands are 3-D printed, and laser cutters are being used to make plastic shields. The group has since made the printing process open source, hopeful that hundreds more units of personal protective equipment (PPE) can be produced.
“This project is part of Wentworth’s DNA,” said team member Monique Fuchs, associate vice president for innovation and entrepreneurship. “When the community has a need, the university mobilizes.”
Around the country, many alumni mobilized and found creative ways to help during the pandemic:
• Founder of AET Labs David Kempskie, MEC ’94, put the Stratasys Continuous Build 3-D printer in his office to good use, working with colleagues to print and assemble face shields for local hospitals.
• Michael Kyes, AET ’88, ARC ’91, senior associate and architecture team leader at the integrated design firm SMMA, is part of a group that has been working in conjunction with the Massachusetts General Brigham Center for COVID Innovation in producing vetted personal protective equipment.
• Siena Construction Corporation’s Project Manager Carli Cabana, BSA ’13, MSFM ’16, and Director of Life Sciences Christina Gabriel, BFPM ’07, partnered with Broad Institute to transform a lab into a high-throughput COVID-19 testing facility.
• Led by Douglas Foley, EEE ’86, EEC ’88, vice president for electric field operations in Massachusetts, Eversource Energy has supported the electrical needs for medical locations and pop-up testing sites that
have sprung up across the commonwealth, such as the nation’s first dedicated care center for COVID-19 Patients at Carney Hospital in Dorchester.
• CDM Smith, under the leadership of Chairman and CEO Tim Wall, CEC ’92, launched a collaboration with faculty members at Michigan State University and water reclamation utilities across the United States to track the presence of coronavirus in wastewater, with the goal of developing a tool to predict future outbreaks.
• Sharon Jozokos, AET ’92, CMC ’92, vice president of health care at Columbia Construction, contributed
an article in Healthcare Design on building and design responses for healthcare facilities in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, and Jason J. Jewhurst, BARC ’02, principal at Bruner/Cott, has been working with architecture leaders to contribute to the Boston Society of Architects’ Best Practices Guide COVID-19.
Back at Wentworth, Department of Facilities employees worked to disinfect buildings and equipment, and to make a host of improvements in various areas including the Info Hub, Shawaf Terrace adjacent to the Schumann Library, Baker Hall and 610 Huntington Avenue. The department also helped collect and drop off toilet paper, disinfectants and other essential items for residents at the neighboring Mission Main apartments. Office of Community and Government Relations employees, meanwhile, have been distributing grocery gift cards to Boston residents.
— Reporting by Dennis Nealon, Lori Friedman, John Franklin and Greg Abazorius