Mines News

Release Date Thursday, September 30, 2021

Mines Students Help Create Life Size “Operation” Game for STEM Outreach Events

The Pre-Health Organ Extraction Board Exhibit (PHOEBE) was built by Mines students, faculty and staff as a tool for STEM outreach and engagement. PHOEBE will get its first public display at 1:30 p.m. this Saturday, Oct. 2 during the STEMinist Day on the Mines campus.

A multidisciplinary group of South Dakota Mines students, faculty and staff have created a life-size game of “operation” for use in STEM-based outreach events. The Pre-Health Organ Extraction Board Exhibit, also known as PHOEBE, includes an electrical system that buzzes if the participant fails to extract the 3D printed organ properly. The game is facilitated by members of the Women in Science and Engineering (WiSE) program and Pre-Health Pathways at Mines. 

PHOEBE-FullMines students designed and built the operation game from scratch. They 3D printed the organs and plastic containers they sit in. They used a CNC machine to cut out the organ openings and wired the electronics for the entire system. Mines staff member, Brian Hill, did the artwork and graphic design. Johnica Morrow, Ph.D., who is the former Pre-Health Pathways advisor at Mines, led the project.

“This was a fun and exciting project, but it took a lot of work to coordinate,” Morrow says. “We went through several iterations before settling on the final design of the board and even changed our plans as new people joined the team, bringing with them new (and better) ideas for the final product. Between the pandemic hitting during key stages of the project and students graduating before it could be completed, we really struggled to pull things together, but it all worked out in the end! I am grateful for everyone who contributed to this project and proud of the final product that our team created.”

Kevin Barz, the past president of the 3D Print Club at Mines and a graduate student in materials science, was instrumental in the success of the project. “Ultimately this was a very fun project to work on and I am glad to see it completed and in a functional state. I am really glad that Dr. Morrow liked the final state of the project so much and I think that it will also be a great resume builder for the 3D Print Club members who were involved,” says Barz.

Jillian Linder, a junior biomedical engineering major at Mines, was one member of the student team that built PHOEBE. Linder says the project got her involved with the campus 3D print club, and she gained an understanding of the design and team building through the process. “I hope this project shows that taking time to learn what you are interested in is important part of growing your own knowledge. These kinds of team projects make us better scientists and engineers,” says Linder.

PHOEBE will get its first public display at 1:30 p.m. this Saturday, Oct. 2 during the STEMinist Day on the Mines campus. Members of Mines WiSE program will be on hand with PHOEBE for attendees to try out. The STEMinist Day event, hosted by WiSE, Hardrocker Athletics and Halliburton, is for all girls in grades 3-8 who will take part in a fun day of STEM activities, free food and a volleyball match up between the Lady Hardrockers and Regis University.

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About South Dakota Mines  

Founded in 1885, South Dakota Mines is one of the nation’s leading engineering, science and technology universities. South Dakota Mines offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees and a best-in-class education at an affordable price. The university enrolls 2,418 students with an average class size of 24. The South Dakota Mines placement rate for graduates is 97 percent, with an average starting salary of more than $66,150. For these reasons College Factual ranks South Dakota Mines, the #1 Engineering School for Return on Investment. Find us online at www.sdsmt.edu and on FacebookTwitter, LinkedInInstagram and Snapchat.

Contact: Mike Ray, 605-394-6082, mike.ray@sdsmt.edu