By Patrick O’Donnell ’19
The Stony Brook University Student Chapter of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) strives to help students develop professionally and to familiarize students with the engineering industry by providing exposure to real-world applications. ASME is dedicated to helping students use their practical knowledge to support their community. The organization’s faculty advisor, Professor Anurag Purwar, introduced the students to Keep Moving Forward (KMF), a state-of-the-art, intensive physical therapy outpatient center in Garden City, Long Island. ASME’s collaboration with KMF has been centered around “Go Baby Go,” a project that falls directly in line with the goals of the organization.
The Go Baby Go project involves modifying off-the-shelf toy cars to allow access and mobility for special needs children between the ages of 2 and 7. Amanda Kannengeiser, a physical therapist at KMF, has led the Go Baby Go movement for this chapter. In a little over a year, this chapter has modified a total of 18 toy cars, with more pending for the future. Her passion and dedication to the project has made her chapter one of the fastest growing chapters of the program.
“For kids with mobility issues, these cars are priceless. It gives them the chance not only to explore the world around them but relate to their peers,” Amanda said. Since June 2018, student members of the ASME Stony Brook Chapter have collaborated with KMF and Amanda to advance this Go Baby Go chapter. Members have attended multiple build sessions at KMF and been able to assist with their mechanical knowledge and technical skills. The group’s efforts have changed the lives of many families on Long Island. It has been a truly amazing experience for all of the ASME members to make a child’s day just by using their engineering knowledge.
“We are so thankful for the adaption of our daughter’s Jeep. The sound of her laughter and the joy in her face while in it are priceless. We are forever grateful,” said one parent.
“Go Baby Go provided an outlet to utilize my studies for the betterment of the community,” said Brian Clark, Stony Brook ASME’s Public Relations Chair.
The impact and potential of this program is incredible and far reaching. It provides an excellent outlet for engineering students to use their knowledge and expertise to make a great impact. Amanda plans to continue the collaboration and work on more cars in the coming year. She has already received numerous requests from more parents and special education schools that want cars to so kids can practice driving as a reward at school. ASME and KMF will continue to collaborate in the future to explore new designs and ideas that could further the impact of this great program.
About the Author: Patrick O’Donnell is a 2019 graduate of the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences with a double major in Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mathematics and Statistics. He will be attending Clemson University in the fall to pursue a PhD in Automotive Engineering.