A Dartmouth graduate, Alison Stace-Naughton came into our IDEA class to tell us about her career and what she is currently working on. She gave us a PowerPoint presentation on the different things she has worked on while she was at Dartmouth. One of her ideas that her and three other students developed while working in an engineering class was creating a device that runs through the throat, into the stomach and holds the stomach in place while surgeons operate on it, making the surgery process more efficient and faster. If she can perfect her device using the right materials it could be worth millions of dollars because it could be used in every stomach surgery. She was very confident in her idea and pitched it in front of a group of people and won 30,000 dollars, she got a patent for her idea and now owns the right to sell her idea or continue constructing her design and sell her product.
From the beginning of the year we have been given a lot of room on what we want to work on and how we want to go about constructing our products. We started off by making balsa towers and the ultimate goal was to see how much weight one tower could hold but also taking into factor the weight of the tower. Once we did this experiment a first time we did it again so we could use what we had learned to perfect our second tower, which is like what Alison is doing with her first device. Then we were challenge by making a device that is completely hydraulic powered. A couple classmates and I have been working on a hydraulic powered device that picks up sand and then carries/moves it to a different spot and then dumps the sand into a bucket.
Alison was able to take something she was doing in the classroom, relate it to a real world problem, and then attempt to create something that fixes the problem. From Alison I noticed that she was very interested in the field she was working with and she had a lot of passion to take on this process unlike some of her other group members. I think it was very smart of her to get outside and in this case go to a hospital and learn about what problems are out there. From Alison I learned that even with an idea as good as hers you shouldn’t expect it to always work out the way you want it to. Alison is willing to pursue her idea and go with it as far as it will take her but if it doesn’t work out she will be able to move past it. I learned it’s important to work in a field you are interested in and it’s always better to have an idea that will help out other people.