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Wendy Ross, a clinical coordinator in the Division of Radiologic Science, has teamed up with other volunteers at the UNC-Chapel Hill Be a Maker (BeAM) makerspace where the UNC-Chapel Hill community can design and make of physical objects for education, research, entrepreneurship and recreation to assemble personal protective equipment (PPE) in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Wendy Ross
Wendy Ross

“I was really looking for some way to do something, and I felt it was very nice to have such an organized, ‘you just step and do the work’ opportunity rather than having for us to figure it out ourselves,” Ross said.

So far, Ross has assembled more than 200 PPE kits. The BeAM space has contributed tens of thousands of face shields to health care organizations, including to UNC Health.

“I hope and I believe that it will help health caregivers feel safe and cared for and make them able to do their jobs more easily,” Ross said.

Ross said she heard about the volunteer opportunity thanks to a desire to learn more about the BeAM makerspace. During radiologic science students’ senior year, they have the opportunity to use the BeAM space, which includes a 3D printer, to model organs or other body parts as part of a capstone project. Previously, a student used the BeAM space to create a model of the heart to better illustrate how imaging equipment might best be used.

“I think the more that we talk about it and expose the students to what’s available, the more creative they can be with what they’re trying to do.”

Ross said the level of organization and attention to keep BeAM volunteers safe and healthy while assembling PPE impressed her.

“It’s just amazing to think a few people stepped up and said, ‘we can do this,’” Ross said. “They had to do a lot of planning and organizing to get this off the ground.”

The Division of Radiologic Science is housed in the Department of Allied Health Sciences.