iMBA Students Win Second Place in National Textiles Competition

The Guardian is designed to fight the stigma of wearing face masks and help prevent the spread of infections and pathogens.

The Guardian is designed to fight the stigma of wearing face masks and help prevent the spread of infections and pathogens.

Four Innovation MBA students have earned second place in the national Advanced Textiles Student Design Challenge for their reinvention of the medical face mask.

The competition, sponsored by the Industrial Fabrics Association International, encouraged students to solve safety and protection problems using technical textiles and narrow fabrics in functional designs.

Students Christina Marchesani, Bridget Deacon, Medhavi Patel and Seong Won Ha created an original design for a thin, comfortable, fashionable and antimicrobial face mask. The reusable product, named the Guardian, is designed to fight the stigma of wearing face masks and help prevent the spread of bacterial infections and pathogens in public areas, such as schools, offices and hospitals.

The team researched several different kinds of textiles before deciding on a blend of polyester, rayon/viscose and silver particles for its antimicrobial effects. The students are currently working with textile faculty at Jefferson (Philadelphia University + Thomas Jefferson University) and textile manufacturers to make a prototype for product and market testing.

The students developed the Guardian as part of the new product development course taught by Les Sztandera, Ph.D., professor of computer information systems.

“I could not be happier about this placement, especially in such a competitive environment,” Sztandera said. “The student team has proved, yet again, that the Nexus Learning approach works remarkably well.”

This accomplishment marks the fourth team from Sztandera’s course that has placed in national design challenges over the past two years.

A transdisciplinary team of students won the top prize in a U.S. Department of Defense challenge to redesign protective chemical-biological suits for military troops. A second University team was runner-up.

In addition, four fashion merchandising and management students won second place in the American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists Concept 2 Consumer merchandising competition for their wearable technology innovation Sunergy Outerwear.

“In the new product development course, we educate students not only to drive technological change but to work in a constantly developing and rather challenging social, economic and global context,” said Sztandera, who will teach the course again this fall. “I believe that studio teaching and team projects, as well as transdisciplinary learning, solid market research and the philosophy of conceive/design/implement/operate are integral elements of students’ success in the course.”

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