Career Choices

Alexia Fountain, Mech. Engineering Student

Brain Surgery
Atom Sarkar
David Moxness
Procedure Solutions Specialist
Compound Machines
Eric Westervelt
Electrical Engineer
Ray Morrow
Exhibit Engineer
Teresa Brusadin
Welding Engineer
Crash Scene
Alexia Fountain
Mechanical Engineering Student
Ed Conkel
Emergency Medical Technician
Trooper Fred J. Cook
Crash Scene Reconstruction
Matthew A. Wolfe
Highway Safety Specialist
Kim Bigelow
Engineering Professor
Hip Surgery
Wilma Gillis
Chief Clinical Anesthetist
John Heiner
Professor of Orthopedic Surgery
Pat Johnson
Medical Assistant
Shawn Knock
Surgical Technician
Karen Myung
Orthopedic Surgery Resident
Pat Schubert
R.N. Team Leader, Orthopedics
Richard Illgen
Orthopedic Surgeon
Carolyn Steinhorst
Nurse Clinician
Eric Stormoen
Unit Coordinator, Orthopedics
Szymon Wozniczka
Physical Therapist
Knee Surgery
Leanne Turner
Orthopedic Prosthetic Engineer
Dr. Joel Politi
Orthopedic Surgeon
Jan Augenstein
Physician Assistant
Ed Lafollette
Registered Nurse
Jeremy Daughtery
Clinical Manager Neurosurgery and Orthopedics
Sickle Cell DNA
Andre Palmer
Chemical Engineer
Matt Pastore
Genetic Counselor
Rick Toracinta
Research Associate
Ben Gelber
On-Air Meteorologist
David Moxness, Procedure Solutions Specialist


Ohio State University College of Engineering

Career Description

I am a mechanical engineering student, and my area of research is called injury biomechanics. I chose mechanical engineering because I liked to take things apart and learn how they work when I was younger. I decided taking things apart sounded like a fun job and that is one of the many jobs I can have as a mechanical engineer. I have had jobs working on replacement knees and hips, race cars, and, in an indirect way right now, crash test dummies.

Biomechanics is the study of the body. Most people don't understand why a mechanical engineer would be working on or with people. The body is actually very mechanical in everything, from how the joints work, to how the heart works. It's a perfect "machine" for mechanical engineers to study just like airplanes and computers. Injury biomechanics, which is my specific area of study, is a study of how the body is injured.

My research project is looking at how the knee is injured when people are in a front-end car accident. Crash test dummies are used in actual crash testing to measure what a real person would experience in a similar car crash. We use post mortem human subject (PMHS) legs to learn how much of an impact the knee can handle before it is injured.

Specifically, we're studying the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) which is one of the internal ligaments that stabilizes the knee. In frontal car crashes, the passenger or driver will slide forward which causes their knees to impact the dash, which can cause the PCL to be torn. Since ligament tears are hard to fix we want to try to stop or minimize these types of injuries. We test the PMHS legs by impacting them with a pneumatic ram, and then, monitor the reaction to the impact with sensors. The sensors record how much force we're applying to the femur, how much the PCL is stretching, and how much the tibia is moving. We will take what we learn from this testing to change how the crash test dummies are instrumented and used.

This type of research is really interesting and exciting! We hope to make cars safer for everybody in the future. This is just one of the many fun things that I get to do as a mechanical engineer.