Meet the Design Team - Phase I
I’m an instructor in the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering at Penn State University. I received my Bachelors and Masters degrees here and my PhD from the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering at Purdue. Throughout graduate school I worked in the area of Agricultural Safety and Health, and while at Purdue, focused on adapting tools for farmers who were recovering from disabling injuries and illnesses. This experience gives me great insight on how to adapt tools and equipment to individuals like you and not make you rely on a one-size-fits-all tool.
I’m an educator and a community-based occupational therapist, practicing in the areas of agriculture-related disabilities, pediatrics, and women’s health & well-being. I teach occupational therapy courses at the associate level at Penn State University and doctoral level at Chatham University. Additionally, in 2006, I was blessed to receive a grant position as the Healthcare Education Specialist with the AgrAbility for Pennsylvanians Project at Penn State. The positive energy that the Green Heron Tools project has within it, is just a joy to be around! I hope to add value to the project by facilitating women’s skills & knowledge in the use of their bodies in combination with the tools Green Heron is designing to gain maximum production on their farms and in their gardens.
Hi, I’m Andy Freivalds, Professor of Industrial Engineering at Penn State University. My expertise is in ergonomics, trying to make work and the workplace safer and healthier for the worker. Much of my research has focused on the tools, both powered and non-powered, used by the workers in the industrial workplace. This project is an interesting diversion into agricultural tools; although, following in the footsteps of Frederick Taylor, the “father” of industrial engineering, I did do some early research on shovels and shoveling, which will be useful in this project.
I am a Ph.D. candidate of Industrial & Manufacturing Engineering Department at Pennsylvania State University. My current research involves a variety of human factors and ergonomics topics: biomechanical modeling of the index finger to predict the likelihood of musculoskeletal disorders, redesign of hand tools to reduce carpal tunnel syndrome effects, simulation of working postures to estimate physical demands, development of physical work capacity assessment tools with data-mining techniques, and ergonomic work analyses based on ergonomic principles for better tasks, workplaces and productivity. This project is interesting because musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are more common among women than among men. This is a well-known fact that often has been discussed in the literature and supported by a large number of studies. Biological differences, such as muscle strength and body size, are often mentioned to explain differences in MSDs between men and women, but few studies have actually been made in this field. In addition, there are few women-specific tool standards since most of tool designs have focused on a universal standard which covers from small females to large males. I expect this project for female workers to be the cornerstone of identifying critical factors of comfort in using tools as well as establishing a new design standard.