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Rose-Hulman students respond to COVID-19 challenge

Summer interns at Rose-Hulman Ventures designed hand sanitizing stands. (photo courtesy: Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology)

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Students from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, who lost out on summer internships due to COVID-19, were instead able to obtain experience at Rose-Hulman Ventures, the engineering consulting and product design firm affiliated with the school.

Because of that shift, some of the students took part in prototyping a piece of equipment to help prevent the spread of the disease.

The interns designed and developed hand sanitizing stands and stations.

“This summer, there was more need for internships than ever,” said Brian Dougherty, senior director of RHV. “A lot of our students had lost the opportunities that they had at other companies because of the pandemic. And we decided to kind of step up and overhire for the summer.”

Dougherty said businesses and communities were experiencing a shortage of many health safety items, including the sanitizer stands. He said by responding to demand, relatively new engineering students were allowed to get involved in a real-world project.

“It was one of those classic win-win kind of scenarios,” Dougherty said. “They get to start with a blank slate, figure out how to design these things, and then they’ve got to go talk with companies in town figure out how to get them made.”

The team developed the stand and oversaw the production of more than 200 stands, which are now placed throughout campus and multiple businesses in Terre Haute. Members of the Terre Haute Chamber of Commerce last week delivered the stands to about two dozen businesses and organizations.

“I applaud Rose Ventures for thinking creatively and using their highly-skilled students and staff to help alleviate at least one concern for local businesses,” said chamber president Kristin Craig. “The hand sanitizing stations are a great way for any business to keep their employees and customers safe while we navigate this health crisis.”

Dougherty says the project created a classic ‘win-win’ scenario.”