Allison Furmidge is a second-year student at the University of San Diego. She is studying bioengineering, with a mechanical engineering focus. In the fall of 2017, Allison started the QL+ Club at UCSD. She saw the impact QL+ had on local communities and wanted to expand that impact to the people of San Diego. “With such a large veteran community down in San Diego and the incredibly talented students at UCSD, I hoped to bridge that gap and connect our engineering and design students with community members in need,” she states.
UCSD’s QL+ club is currently working on a Challenge for a young quadriplegic girl in Oceanside. She uses a surfboard with an attachable chair created by the organization Waves4All. UCSD’s QL+ Club is creating a transfer device to transport her from her wheelchair out into the water on her adaptable surfboard. For Allison, the most difficult part of this Challenge is designing it to not only best suit the needs of the Challenger, but also make sure it is low-cost and is adaptable within the situation that the Challenger is using it.
The rewards, however, outweigh the difficulties. “With this QL+ Challenge, I can see how I can create something that will affect the way the Challenger lives, even if it’s for a fun hobby,” she states. “Having worked with the Challenger and the impact this can have on her makes all of the work rewarding.” The experience has taught Allison many valuable skills, particularly with regard to the engineering project process: designing for manufacturability, time management, and adaptability to the user. Allison reports that many professors of engineering and design labs on campus have shown a keen interest in what QL+ does and are looking for more ways to help the students in the club gain this practical experience.
Allison chose bioengineering because she wanted to pursue her interest in math and science to help people in the medical field. “Initially, I was interested in working with prosthetics, but with such a growing field of research and breakthroughs in medicine, I can explore various fields of biotechnology and mechanics,” she states. “With my mechanical engineering focus, I can get hands-on experience building and designing products to improve someone’s life.” After graduation, Allison plans to stay in California and work in the bioengineering field. She may also complete her master’s degree if her career choice recommends it.
Thank you, Allison, for being an integral part of the formation of the QL+ Club at UCSD. We are thrilled to welcome UCSD into the QL+ Family of Universities!