Professor Awarded Grant to Continue NASA Project
September 29, 2003

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Macon, Ga.- Mercer University sophomore Amanda Chappell of Tullahoma, Tenn., and engineering assistant professor Renee Rogge, Ph.D., are reaching for the stars -- literally. The student-professor team is working on a project that will benefit astronauts.

With a $16,000 grant from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the team is creating a 3-D digital model of a human body. This will enable NASA researchers to better evaluate space suits and hardware used by astronauts.

It's the continuation of a project Rogge began this summer when she served as a NASA Faculty Fellow at Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, for 10 weeks. The new NASA grant will enable Rogge and Chappell to work on the project through August.

Once complete, the 3-D model should improve the quality of life for astronauts. According to Rogge, it is important in the strenuous atmosphere of outer space that astronauts are as comfortable as possible, and with the use of the 3-D model, researchers can better design space suits and other equipment.

Chappell chose to study biomedical engineering at Mercer because she wanted to use her math and physics talents for the betterment of human life. She said she's looking forward to making a difference with this project.

"Modeling the human body sounds really interesting," Chappell said. "I'm excited I get to apply what I'm learning in class to a real-world situation and to work on something that will have such a big impact on the astronauts."
 
Named one of the top engineering schools in the Southeast by U.S. News and World Report for the past four years, Mercer University School of Engineering is known for producing graduates ready to work in industry and government. The innovative Mercer School of Engineering curriculum emphasizes teamwork as well as opportunities to gain on-the-job experiences.
 
Mercer engineering graduates are also known for their strong communication skills, as Mercer is one of few engineering institutions in the nation to house a Technical Communication Department within the Engineering School.
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