Project thumbnail image
College of Engineering Unit: 
Mechanical, Industrial, and Manufacturing Engineering
Project Team Member(s): 
Trinity Diec, Randall Hering, Ruth St. George and Khoa Phan
Physical Location at Expo: 
Virtual Only
Project ID: 
Project Description: 

Foodborne Illnesses, otherwise more commonly known as Food Poisoning, is an illness caused by eating foods that have harmful organisms such as bacteria, parasites and viruses. They are mostly found in raw meats, chicken, fish, and eggs but they have the ability to spread to any type of food. It is estimated by the CDC that each year roughly 1 in 6 Americans (or 48 million people) gets sick, 128,00 of whom are hospitalized, and 3,000 of which die of foodborne related illnesses.

This project focused on creating an interactive display for middle and high school students to spread awareness of how behavior and certain activities contribute to food safety, and how they can decrease the risks of foodborne illnesses. This project is a completely new challenge for this coming year's Science Math Investigative Learning Experience (SMILE) event, and it was the responsibility of the project team to define and produce the learning material for the SMILE program. The project team conducted extensive research into foodborne illnesses and its preventive measures, and then designed the material to convey that information and make it relatable to the everyday lives of the younger students. In addition, it is also a goal to design the material to provide exposure or insight to the many opportunities in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) learning and careers. The project team collaborated with SMILE and the Precollege Programs (PCP) at OSU in a series of weekly or bi-weekly meetings in order to satisfy their needs and expectations to yield the best outcomes of the project.

As a result the team had created two designs that met all the sponsor defined requirements; One design was the creation of 7 unique lesson plans that facilitators can choose to teach at SMILE events that encourages student participation in open ended discussions. The second design is two wood fabricated refrigerator assemblies and game documents that encourage students to apply the lessons they have learned from the lessons to an end of game challenge. With the two designs paired together, the team hopes to meet the ultimate of encouraging a behavioral change in students’ personal lives. Whether it is spreading awareness of the potential dangers of foodborne illnesses, or understanding how simply organizing your fridge properly can protect you from getting sick, the objective is to teach students a significant lesson that they take with them for the rest of their lives.

The project provides great benefits to the younger students who are presented with the team’s work. Since in today’s American society young people are disconnected from the importance of food safety in their everyday lives, this project provides a unique, interactive, and fun way to inform them of just some of the few ways foodborne illnesses are prevented in both industry and at home. Over the course of the project, challenges such as defining the teaching material, and designing and materializing a quality display suitable for long distance transportation between events. However, with the guidance of the project’s advisors, and collaboration with the SMILE and PCP programs, these obstacles had been overcome and eventually lead to the success of the project where the benefits are reaped by the young students who take interest in STEM learning

2021 Fall Term: Prototype Presentation
Design Results: Lesson Plans
Design Results; Fabricated Fridge Assemblies

Project Website(s): 
Industry Sponsor(s): 
  • United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
  • National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA)
  • Science & Math Investigative Learning Experiences (SMILE)

  • Project Communication Piece(s): 
    PDF icon SMILE Food Safety: Project Poster620.59 KB
    This team is open to networking
    This team is open to collaboration opportunities
    This team is open to employment offers