Eaton Corporation recently bestowed a $4,800 grant to Cleveland High School’s biomedical engineering class to buy necessary equipment essential for the robotic surgery project.
Teacher Erin Hattabaugh does her best every year to push her students to the next level. Recent class projects included functional prosthetics and models of heart pumps.
The idea behind the robotic surgery module is simple: a block of jello is the patient; and a grape is the tumor inside of the patient. Students must remove the tumor from the patient.
The challenge is not so much in operating the machine as it is in creating said machine.
Hattabaugh has taught the class for 10 years. She said the surgery has been a component of the class for about nine of those years.
“A lot of the equipment is outdated or broken. It is not specific enough to robotic surgery,” Hattabaugh said. “We actually started the project with old stuff not knowing yet [if we would get the grant]. I’m excited with it coming in next week and how it will change our designs.”
Students have already begun their projects with varying levels of success.
According to Hattabaugh, students must determine: the best construction; how the grape will be retrieved; how to program their devices; and how the motor will operate.
Eaton quality supervisor Teresa Curvin encouraged Hattabaugh to apply for a company grant when she heard about the need for new equipment.
Curvin serves on the engineering advisory council and knew grants were available for such endeavors.
“We are always looking for different ways we can give back to the community. This was one particular project that stood out,” Curvin said. “This was the first time an instructor approached someone from the board (Curvin) about funding.”
She expressed her surprise over the projects completed by the students.
“I am a chemical engineer, but these kids are learning things I didn’t learn until my second year of college,” Curvin said. “I am absolutely blown away by how hard [the projects] are.”
Approximately five sets and a model set were purchased with the money. Hattabaugh expected to get the packages this week. She said the model set is important to students understanding how the robotics should work.
According to Hattabaugh, it is sometimes difficult for students to determine how the final product is created.
“Even though the programming is simple, it can be very hard to conceptualize unless you see it,” Hattabaugh said. “One [set] will be a model, and then they will design their own tools or models.”
Eaton human resources manager Adam Moffatt said the company is very proud to present the check to Hattabaugh.
“Eaton has a long tradition of supporting education within the community,” Moffatt said. “We do this for a number of reasons. First, it benefits the community, and second, it strengthens the future workforce.”
Director of City Schools Dr. Martin Ringstaff thanked Moffatt and Curvin.
“We are really proud of Eaton stepping forward and providing money like this, because our partnerships with professionals like these really help out, especially with the [Career and Technology Education] classes,” Ringstaff said. “We thank you for helping us out like this.”
Moffatt and Curvin encouraged teachers to approach the engineering advisory council and apply for a grant.