Quality of Life Plus Mission

To foster and generate innovations that aid and improve the quality of life for those who have served our country.

University Partners



Those who serve


Get Involved

Our Challenges

Ice Hockey Prosthetic

QL+ funded a series of projects in conjunction with the USA Warriors Ice Hockey Program, which provides recreational and therapeutic benefits to injured Veterans through ice hockey. A study of current prostheses identified various technological limitations for sports use – especially in ice hockey, a high-impact, high-energy sport that requires fluid knee and ankle movement.

Prosthetic Leg Modification

Cal Poly QL+ engineering students designed and prototyped an adjustable below-the-knee prosthetic leg that combines the functions of walking, running, and swimming. The prosthetic they designed was durable, lightweight, waterproof, comfortable, and would not slip off.

Cat Lift

A central focus of this QL+ Challenge is integrating wounded warriors back into the workforce. An opportunity arose to employ a number of disabled Veterans in the clearance and reforestation of a large tract of land near Yosemite, owned by a QL+ supporter. The land has been destroyed by forest fires.

Fog Control Box

QL+ engineering students from Cal Poly are developing a device that will allow those with Parkinson’s Disease to walk more easily and safely.  Parkinson’s Disease is a neurodegenerative disorder that affects the motor system because of decreased dopamine, causing “freezing of gait” (FOG) symptoms.

Yeager Knife

QL+ partnered with a US Army Occupational Therapist to develop a specialized cutting utensil. This knife is ergonomically designed, with various grip positions, and is intended for use by those with diminished hand, wrist or arm functions. The knife features a stabilize grip, which will reduce fatigue and allow more control and force to be applied by the user.

Fire Fighter Mask

The purpose of this QL+ Challenge was to create a unique self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) for our Challenger, a firefighter stationed in San Francisco, California.

Our Partners

Virginia Tech
Virginia Tech



















Our Challengers

Captain Danny Knutson

Captain Danny Knutson is a Navy Veteran and QL+ Challenger. He served for 25 years in the United States Navy as a Naval Aviator. While serving in the Navy, Captain Knutson’s spine and neck were compromised during an in-flight ejection from a crippled Navy jet...

Larry Gunter

Larry Gunter is an Air Force Veteran and QL+ Challenger. In the Air Force, he worked as an Air Force Crew Chief on a C-130 Aircraft. Larry was diagnosed with Retina Pigmentosa, a genetic disease that causes the degeneration of the retina that ultimately causes blindness...

Velette Britt

Velette Britt is an Air Force Veteran and QL+ Challenger working with student engineers at Cal Poly and Colorado School of Mines. Velette served in the United States Air Force from May of 2007 to July of 2016 as a Dental Lab Technician...

Taylor Morris

Taylor Morris is a Navy Veteran and QL+ Challenger. Taylor joined the military right out of high school and began rigorous and extensive training as an Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician (EOD). He became an expert in explosives, diving, parachuting, and learned the tactical skills of a combat fighter...

Tammy Landeen

Tammy Landeen, Army Veteran and QL+ Challenger, served in the United States Army from 1996-2005 as a Tactical Power Generation Specialist. In 2002, Tammy was injured while on Active Duty, and after her service ended, she suffered a traumatic spinal cord injury while horseback riding...

Portrait by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, All rights reserved

Dawn Halfaker

Dawn Halfaker served as a Military Police Officer in the United States Army. She deployed to Iraq with the 3rd Infantry Division where she commanded a military police platoon in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. In 2004, during a combat patrol near Baghdad, she was wounded, which resulted in the amputation of her right arm and right shoulder. She earned a Purple Heart and Bronze Star for her service...

Upcoming Events

Tailgate Awareness
October 6, 2019
FedEx Field
Washington Redskins v. New England Patriots
Washington, DC

October 30, 2019
The Brig DC
Washington, DC

Throughout the month of October, the Seabee Historical Foundation will be hosting OktoBEEfest events at breweries nationwide. These events will provide opportunities to enjoy good brews and network with Seabees in your area.

First Responder Mental Health and Wellness Conference
November 7-8, 2019
OCLC Conference Center
Dublin, Ohio

First Responder Mental Health Awareness Summit
November 13, 2019
Central Ohio Technical College
Newark, Ohio

ATIA 2020
Pre-Conference Seminars:
January 28 – 29, 2020
January 29 – February 1, 2020

Join Some of the Most Influential People in the Assistive Technology Community. We all have a responsibility to take part in giving back to the field and sharing our collective knowledge to make an even bigger difference.

Bring your team to ATIA 2020 to: CONNECT with colleagues, customers, and the community. LEARN about the latest trends, tools and best practices. SHARE insights to enhance opportunities for persons with disabilities.


"The ability to tell an engineer exactly what would make life better and have my opinion be part of the design process is exciting and innovative. I’m proud to be part of this amazing program."

~Tammy Landeen, Veteran, QL+ Challenger

"Working with young engineers has been very rewarding. I enjoyed the close contact I have had with the team as they systematically break down my limitations and propose elegant solutions to mitigate my physical issues to improve my quality of life."

~Captain Danny Knutson, Veteran, QL+ Challenger

"The work the QL+ student engineers are doing is greatly appreciated and life-changing. They are taking my Challenge seriously and putting their hearts into it. It shows."

~Larry Gunter, Veteran, QL+ Challenger

"It’s a great feeling to create solutions for veterans and first responders because I have family who have served in the military and I know how difficult it can be for people dealing with injuries. It is very gratifying knowing I’m helping people who have done so much for our country."

~Michael Paxton, Student Engineer, University of Dayton

"The QL+ Program is fantastic. It gives us the opportunity to take the knowledge learned in the classroom and apply it to a specific person and application that could change lives. Part of our tradition at UD is to serve and the QL+ Program gives us a chance to do that."

~John Hageman, Professor, University of Dayton

"Working on the QL+ Project involves a lot of different fields of study. Collaborating with people from different fields to create a solution has been very beneficial to me and will help me in my future career."

~Connor Tangney, Student Engineer, University of Dayton

“One of the rewards from working with QL+ is that we get to work with real people on real problems. This will help us later in life when we are in the industry and have to solve problems in real time.”

~Elaina Finney, Student, University of Dayton

“QL+ has been extremely sensitive to the needs of our students and our faculty advisors. They challenge our students and they bring a sense of professionalism. This is one of the gaps we are trying to fill between academia and their profession when they leave the University of Dayton.”

~Rebecca Blust, Professor, University of Dayton

“Working with QL+ is extremely rewarding as a veteran and student engineer. I’m not just doing something in academia, I’m actually giving back to a group that I have a lot of personal connection with.”

~Steven Reif, Veteran, Student Engineer, University of Dayton

“QL+ has provided us with a lot of support from the very beginning. They encourage us to have fun with the project and design something from the ground up.”

~Jeffery Lecave, student engineer, University of Dayton

“The biggest reward from working with QL+ is knowing that what we are making will help a veteran do the things he loves to do.”

~Mark Wautelet, student engineer, University of Dayton

“QL+ helps us live our mission by engaging our students with society through a partnership that provides meaningful learning in projects they take on with QL+ challengers. Our students receive hands-on experience working on real problems and receiving immediate feedback as they learn the process of rapid development.”

~Gary Lewandowski, Associate Dean, Xavier University

“It's life-changing to be involved in an organization so dedicated to helping the community in such a unique way. Everyone involved in the QL+ projects comes away with lessons learned and a new appreciation for life.”

~Katie Mangiaracina, Student, Cal Poly

“Through the teamwork of dedicated undergraduate engineers, QL+ has impacted the lives of numerous members of our community. What I didn't realize when I initially joined this program is how much I would grow as a result. QL+ has made me a better leader, teammate, communicator, and engineer.”

~Shannon Hoye, Student, Cal Poly

“We work hard to design devices that will change the lives of QL+ Challengers, but Challengers change our students' lives just as much if not more. QL+ has allowed me to channel my passions toward a mission that makes real impacts in real people's lives. I am honored to be able to participate in this mission, and I am beyond grateful for the way QL+ has shaped my college experience.”

~Berkeley Davis, Student, Cal Poly

Featured Stories


Zack Reinecke is a Senior at Ohio University. He is a Mechanical Engineering Major and getting his minors in Business and Math. Zack is graduating in May 2020. Zack and his teammates are working on the Surf Transfer Challenger to help Army Veteran and lower-limb amputee, Rosemary Salak. The team is tasked with the challenge of finding a way to help Rosemary enter and exit the water at the beach, independently. Currently, Rosemary relies on friends or an object like a chair to help her get in and out of the surf....

Where are they now? Neddie Byron, Virginia Tech

Neddie Byron graduated from Virginia Tech in May 2018. She majored in Mechanical Engineering with a Minor in Biomedical Engineering. Neddie and her teammates worked on the Push-up/Plank Challenge. The goal of the project was to design and manufacture an assistive exercise device for an Army veteran with a right arm amputation. ​...

Student Spotlight: Morgan Marmarelli, Ohio University

Morgan Marmarelli is a senior at Ohio University, graduating in December of 2020. She is majoring in Mechanical Engineering with a Minor in Mathematics. Morgan and her teammates are working on the "Surf Challenge." Their task is to design an assistive device that will allow our Challenger, Rosemary Salak, to transition from the sand to the surf and from the surf to the sand, unassisted. Rosemary is an Army Veteran whose left leg was amputated above the knee. She is very active and loves the beach, but because of her amputation, she must ask for help to get in and out of the surf....


What has it been like so far, working with QL+ students and participating in the program? Invigorating! Joyful! Motivating! And sparking my curiosity and sense of adventure....

Student Spotlight: Brittany Hesson, Ohio University

Brittany Hesson is a Mechanical Engineering major at Ohio University, graduating in May 2020. Brittany and her teammates are working on the Surf Transfer Challenge for Army Veteran, Rosemary Salak. Rosemary is an amputee--her left leg is amputated above the knee. She is very active and enjoys the outdoors. She loves going to the beach but has issues getting into the water without assistance. She goes to the beach frequently but feels like a burden w​hen asking her friends to help her get into and out of the water. She only swims when others suggest it. The Challenge is to design and build a device to help her get into the water without assistance so she can swim when she pleases....

Student Spotlight SC: Sean Ortiz, SDSU

Sean Ortiz is a Senior at San Diego State University and the Project Manager for the QL+ Student Chapter at SDSU. Sean is a Senior majoring in Mechanical Engineering with an emphasis in Biomedical Engineering. He is graduating in December 2019. Sean and other members of the Student Chapter are working on the Surfboard Transfer Device to ease the process of getting adaptive surfers in the water. Currently, it is very difficult to get adaptive surfers oriented in the water. This project should help simplify this process....

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