Manhattan Engineering Students Help Seniors at the Methodist Home

Manhattan College senior mechanical engineering students wrapped up their fall semester by helping seniors who have limited mobility at the Methodist Home for Nursing and Rehabilitation in Riverdale.

Manhattan College senior mechanical engineering students wrapped up their fall semester not with a traditional final exam, but with the creation of final projects that will benefit seniors who have limited mobility at the Methodist Home for Nursing and Rehabilitation in Riverdale.

Eight groups of students gathered in Manhattan’s Scala Academy room on Dec. 9 to present their final projects to Zella Khan-Jetter, Ph.D., chair of the mechanical engineering department, representatives from the Methodist Home, industry experts and fellow classmates. The products all vary in size, shape and function and include: an exercise band, a pump that enables residents to fill a glass of water from their bedside pitcher, multiple indoor and outdoor gardening tables, an assisted booster chair, an arcade basketball game, and a thera-band adjustable work frame. In addition, all of the products adhere to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations.

“I think the biggest lesson for the students is that they can use their skills, their engineering background and their education in order to do something that benefits society at large,” said Kahn-Jetter. “Giving back and using the education to provide a service that is needed is the most important thing.”

Manhattan College and the Methodist Home’s joint partnership launched in 2009 as an opportunity to provide Manhattan mechanical engineering students with a real-life customer and a capstone course for seniors. Last year’s graduates donated four projects for the Methodist Home, two of which can be found in the home. In order for this year’s class to learn more about Methodist Home, Kahn-Jetter organized a visit for students with Jo Ann Landers, director of marketing and development for the home, the first week of the fall semester, so they could meet the residents and learn more about the facility and requirements.

“This isn’t some test in any given course. We’re actually building something that will help people,” said Zachariah Price, a senior mechanical engineering student, whose group designed an indoor gardening table that is specifically made to grow African Violets, a favorite flower of the residents in the Methodist Home.