Ariel Mae Crisostomo is a Biomedical Engineering senior with a Psychology minor at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. She is graduating in June 2018. Ariel chose to major in BMED because she is fascinated by innovation and meeting clinical needs with technological solutions. She states, “The field is so broad and application-based with so many opportunities to help people personally and directly. I chose to minor in psychology because it is helpful to know how and why people might think the way they do in order to design useful products for a user.”
Ariel wanted to get involved with QL+ for her senior project to provide an impactful solution for a Challenger who belongs to a community that hits close to home. Her father currently serves in the Air Force. Ariel has worked part-time at the Cal Poly Veterans Success Center for the past three and a half years, supporting former members of the military in their transitions to college. “Working on a QL+ project seemed like a great opportunity to combine the technical engineering skills I’d learned with the passion I’ve had for serving the veteran community,” she adds.
Ariel and her QL+ team are working on a project to build a device that will allow Larry Gunter, a blind Air Force Veteran, to stay in the center of a treadmill while running. The device has to keep Larry safe, be portable, and comfortable. It also has to be simple to use so that Larry can set it up independently. For her, the most difficult part of working on this challenge has been designing from the perspective of someone who is blind. She explains, “Not only must my team design a solution that is functional, but we also have to design a device that Larry will be able to set up, use, and maintain on his own.” The team had to consider factors they hadn’t initially been given in the solution requirements but later found to be relevant to our challenger.
The most significant reward from working on this QL+ project has been working directly with the Challenger and seeing the immediate impact of the solution. “The scope of this project covers so much more than meeting a physical need- this is Larry’s lifestyle. A product that improves the quality of that lifestyle has emotional, psychological, and relational impacts as well,” she adds, “Larry’s humility and determination to seek improvements in his life has inspired my team to also take the initiative and press on through the challenges we’ve faced in our engineering process.” Other benefits of working on this project are being able to practice Cal Poly’s “Learn by Doing” approach with an interdisciplinary team. “QL+ has challenged my team with such a unique opportunity to serve those who have served our country.”
After graduation, Ariel will be working as a Manufacturing Engineer at Penumbra, a medical device company in the Bay Area. We are very grateful for her participation in our program. We are excited to see the fruition of her work at the end of the semester!