Neddie Byron is a senior at Virginia Tech, graduating in May 2018.  Neddie is majoring in Mechanical Engineering with a minor in Biomedical Engineering.  She chose to major in mechanical engineering because of the flexibility it allows and her interest in problem-solving.  Choosing a major was difficult for her because, at the end of her freshman year, Neddie realized that she wanted to study a discipline that would allow her to help other people and give back to her community.  Majoring in mechanical engineering with a biomedical engineering minor would enable her to work in a field where she could help people.


Neddie got involved with QL+ because of the human impact the projects have.  “I've always been interested in helping people, and this project does that,” she explains, “I get to apply engineering principles to a project that directly involves improving the daily life of someone.”  Neddie and her team are working on a Push-Up/Plank device for Army Veteran, Dawn Halfaker.  Dawn served as a Military Police Officer in the United States Army.  In 2004, during a combat patrol near Baghdad, she was wounded, which resulted in the amputation of her right arm and right shoulder.  Dawn maintains an active lifestyle and trains regularly with a personal trainer.  Her injuries hinder her abdominal strength training, so she asked QL+ student engineers to design and build a device to help her exercise her core more efficiently.


For Neddie, the most difficult part of this Challenge is the limited interaction her team has with the Challenger.  Dawn is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Halfaker and Associates.  Dawn is also very community-minded, and actively supports numerous civic, cultural, and business organizations.  Due to her very busy lifestyle, she is unable to attend the weekly web meetings and presentations.


Neddie is looking forward to presenting the Push-up/Plank device to Dawn.  “The whole point of the project is to create something that will help improve the daily life of our challenger, and it will be gratifying giving her our device,” she states.  Another benefit of working on this QL+ Challenger is the leadership skills and hands-on experience she gained.  “These are characteristics that employers are interested in and help make me a more competitive candidate for jobs,” she explains.


Neddie also believes that working on this project inspired her and her teammates and other students at Virginia Tech.  “QL+ has a great mission-- helping improve the quality of life of those who have served to protect us,” she adds, “The projects sponsored by QL+ are not only interesting and challenging but give students a chance to make an impact on someone's life.”


After graduation, Neddie will be moving to Michigan to work for Johnson Controls as a Commercial Product Specialist.  Thank you, Neddie, for your hard work and dedication to Dawn’s Challenge!