Vanderbilt Engineering Students Give Gift To Peer

Posted at 8:39 AM, Dec 19, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-19 09:43:28-05

Sometimes, the best Christmas gifts do not come in packages. Vanderbilt University engineering students are making campus life easier for one of their peers.

Navigating campus as a freshman can be tricky and for Kristi van Wulven, using a walker can pose even more challenges. 

"She's been here since August. This is her first semester. She can basically get around anywhere on campus," said her dad, Paul van Wulven. 

Wulven said his daughter can get around campus. But carrying a tray in the cafeteria was impossible.

That's where Vanderbilt engineering students stepped in. They're part of a class called "How to make (almost) anything."

Students take an abstract idea and turn it into an actual product for a student with a disability.   

"Part of this is really trying to give the students in my class and immersive experience where they can really connect with the real world challenge," said Kevin Galloway, Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Vanderbilt University.

Now, after a semester of work, several versions and trail and error and some practice, Kristi has a tray-holding mechanism that allows her to go through the lunch line without help. 

"Just seeing the growth in her after one semester frees up my worrisomeness," said her dad.