After four years, $80,000 and innumerable obstacles, a team of ASU engineering students has completed a mobile dental clinic to dispatch to developing nations.
The team, Engineering Smiles, gained momentum from the Engineering Projects in Community Service program, which puts students together with nonprofits, community groups and governmental agencies to help solve problems and develop professional skills.
“Getting this finished is just about the best graduation present I could ask for,” said Sara Mantlik, the team leader.
For their project, Engineering Smiles partnered with California-based nonprofit IMAHelps, which organizes missions to Central and South America to provide medical and dental care to underprivileged populations.
Mantlik and fellow mechanical engineering graduate student Nick Kemme have been with the project since its inception, even as other team members have graduated or moved on to other work. They’re both slated to graduate with their master’s in mechanical engineering this spring.
“We were concerned we weren’t going to be able to finish our fundraising goal, but things really came together in the last month and a half,” Kemme said.
The completed clinic is housed in a trailer measuring 24 feet long and 8 feet wide and comes equipped with two dental operatories and a sterilization area.