Kelly Bernal is a senior at San Diego State University, graduating in May 2020.  She is majoring in Mechanical Engineering Major with Bioengineering Emphasis.  Kelly and her teammates are working on the Protective Cap for Upper Extremity Osseointegration Challenge. 

Their goal is to create what in theory looks like an artificial elbow. Currently, there is no protection for those with an implant when a prosthetic is not attached.  The only available item is a 3D printed attachment piece that our challenger is unable to lean on and that provides little to no protection.  Their goal is to create a cap that will attach to the attachment piece and provide protection and comfort to our Challenger so that he may return to sport and leisure activities.

The protective cap they created will have 3 layers: a shock layer made of silicone rubber, a protection layer made of carbon fiber, and a comfort layer made of foam.  Our Challenger asked the device to be attached to the attachment piece given. On the inside, there will be a press-fit casing in which the Challenger can push the attachment piece inside.  There is a spring-and-rod assembly on the inside and when the Challenger wishes to remove the cap, he will push the button at the top activating the spring and rod assembly and pushing the attachment piece out.
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Why did you choose your major?  I have always wanted to create something I could design to help people, so taking my interest in small components becoming a bigger picture and my passion for biology, I decided to pursue my major. 
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Describe your experience working with QL+ so far.  I have had a very eye-opening experience working with QL+. Learning more about the projects that this organization sponsors is very admirable and has made me realize that I am on the right path. It has been so rewarding to be able to partake in such meaningful projects and being able to meet the person we are making our project for has been inspiring.

What is it like working with your Challenger?  Working with our challenger has been an inspiring experience, being able to see how an amputee was able to focus the best in his life and not let anything stop him from doing the things he has a passion for.

What would you say to other students about QL+?  QL+ is an amazing organization that puts veterans in the spotlight and truly takes their needs as a priority. This organization works to better the lives of these men and women who worked to fight for us.

What are your plans after graduation?
After graduation, I plan to work in a biomedical company or pursue research that will help improve the lives of people with physical disabilities or health problems.
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What is the proudest moment of your college career?  My proudest moment in college has been working with QL+ on my team’s project for osseointegration.

What three words best describe you?  Hard-working, Driven, Compassionate

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