AS A PANDEMIC RAGES, PROF. RHONDA FRANKLIN PIVOTS TO LEAD MASK MAKING ENDEAVOR
At the start of the spring 2020 term, Prof. Rhonda Franklin embarked on a semester leave to focus on her research projects, and learn and share her expertise at conferences. But by March, there were signs that things would probably not play out as she planned. As the Covid-19 pandemic spread, and the shortage of personal protective equipment started dominating the news, Rhonda began to look for ways in which she could make a difference to the evolving situation. She reached out to Prof. John Bischof (Carl and Janet Kuhrmeyer Chair in Mechanical Engineering), director of the University of Minnesota Institute for Engineering in Medicine inquiring about how she could help. That inquiry culminated in Rhonda leading a team of University scientists who designed and developed MNmask Style 3, a mask meant for wider use beyond healthcare workers.