Each year, MSOE seniors take everything they’ve learned over their academic careers and apply it to their senior projects. Students work in teams or individually and collaborate with faculty advisors and industry partners to solve a problem, improve a product or process, or create something entirely new. It is their chance to apply their knowledge to a hands-on project, gain teamwork experience and showcase their work to their classmates, faculty and potential employers.

In the biomedical engineering program, the faculty members randomly select students to form each group. Without knowing it, they made a group of five students, four of whom attended New Berlin Eisenhower High School.

The team was comprised of New Berlin Eisenhower alumni Kyle Kretzer, Jamie Schara, Riley Rossbach and Santi OssaVelandia, as well as Elle Lanham.

Kretzer, Schara, Rossbach and OssaVelandia have known each other since seventh grade. They participated in orchestra, choir and theater program and had overlapping classes throughout high school. In high school they were active in Project Lead The Way (PLTW) and various AP courses that helped prepare them for classes at MSOE.

“I think knowing each other before coming to MSOE helped when having a familiar face on campus. When starting our project, it was nice to have something in common,” said Kretzer.

For their senior project, the group worked with BioRESEARCH Associates, a company that creates different diagnostic aids for dentists and orthodontists. Specifically, BioRESEARCH Associates creates products for the evaluation of dysfunction in temporomandibular joint (TMJ), the craniofacial musculature and the overall stomatognathic system. The group’s project was titled BioJVA (Joint Vibration Analysis) Device Optimization. Kretzer explained the original BioJVA is used by physicians to record TMJ vibrations for a quick, inexpensive, and non-invasive evaluation.

The group’s redesign incorporated Bluetooth into the device while maintaining the original quality of the signal. This was done by introducing new circuitry to the original device. The team members were able to put their skills to the test while also learning how to work with one another to achieve their goals and produce a product they were proud of.  

“While it was nice to work with people we knew, it was also difficult at times. Over the course of the project, I think it taught us being friends and working on a high stakes project can be difficult. We learned to keep friendship and work separate,” said Kretzer.

Since completing their senior project in May, the team members have officially graduated and are moving on to jobs, continuing their education and exploring new opportunities. Kretzer will be working at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in Alexandria, Virginia as a patent examiner for biomedical devices. Schara will be working at GE Healthcare in Waukesha, Wisconsin in the Regulatory Affairs Department for CT and MRI machines. Lanham will be continuing her education at the Medical College of Wisconsin in the interdisciplinary program for biomedical sciences Ph.D. program. OssaVelandia and Rossbach are exploring job and grad school opportunities.

Although their futures are taking them on different paths, Kretzer says the group will stay in touch through social media and “we will always remember working on our design project at MSOE.”