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

2019 Newman’s Own® Award

QL Plus is honored to receive the 2019 Newman's Own Award's highest honors. Improving lives for the military is the cornerstone of this program.

Fisher House - Helping Military Families Military Times Newman's Own - 100% Profits to Charity

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...


"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

Student Spotlight: Parker Duncan, Cal Poly

Parker Duncan is in his fourth year at Cal Poly, SLO, graduating in June 2020. He is majoring in Manufacturing Engineering. Parker and his teammates are working on the Sand Foot Challenge. Our Challenger, Sgt. Brady has a trans-tibial amputation and is very active in his community. He would like a lower leg prosthesis that will allow him to walk more comfortably on sand....

Student Spotlight: Kevin Meyer, University of Dayton

Kevin Meyer is a 4th year at the University of Dayton, graduating in May 2020. He is majoring in Electrical Engineering. Kevin and his teammates are working on the Kayak See Behind Challenge for Team River Runner, Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky (TRR). They are designing a system that will warn a paddler when someone approaches them from behind. This device will help veterans with PTSD who kayak with TRR so they are not startled by other paddlers approaching behind them....

Student Spotlight: Dallas Rocha, Cal Poly

Dallas Rocha is in his sixth year in college: three years at junior college and three years at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo. He is majoring in Mechanical Engineering, graduating in Spring 2020. Dallas and his teammates are designing and manufacturing the Service Dog Ramp Challenge for Peter Way, an Army veteran who had his right leg amputated above the knee. The goal of the ramp is to reduce the wear and tear on Peter’s Service Dog, Rory when jumping into and out of Peter's truck....

Student Spotlight: Ariel Tolentino, Cal Poly

Ariel Tolentino is a 4th year at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo. She is majoring in Mechanical Engineering and graduating in June 2020. Ariel and her teammates are working on the Service Dog Ramp Challenge. They are designing and manufacturing a Service Dog Ramp for Peter Way, an army veteran who had his right leg amputated above the knee. The goal of the ramp is to reduce the wear and tear on Peter’s Service Dog, Rory when jumping into and out of Peter's truck....

Student Spotlight: Matt Lundgren, Cal Poly

Matt Lundgren is 4th year at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo. He is majoring in Mechanical Engineering, concentrating in Manufacturing. Matt and his teammates are working on the Service Dog Ramp Challenge for veteran, Peter Way. They are designing and building a ramp for his service dog to get into and out of Peter’s truck to help preserve the dog’s joints and service life....

Student Spotlight: Adam Mayeda, Cal Poly

Adam Mayeda is a 5th year at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo. He is majoring in Mechanical Engineering and graduating in June 2020. Adam and his teammates are working with on the Service Dog Ramp Challenge. A retired Army Veteran was injured in 2003 by a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG). Due to the shrapnel and dirt, he suffered multiple infections and endured 24 surgeries. In 2015, he elected to undergo a right leg, above the knee amputation. He has a service dog, Rory, who accompanies him in his F150 Ford truck. Rory is a 7-year-old, specialty-trained service dog, and they have been tasked with designing a ramp to help him get in and out of the truck....

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