WoundAssure wins 2022 Freeman Design Awards

The 2022 Andrew Freeman Design Innovation Awards were held on May 10 at the University of North Dakota.


Emily Windjue


May 17, 2022

WoundAssure was awarded first place at this year's Andrew Freeman Senior Design Innovation Awards. The winning team consisted of University of North Dakota (UND) Electrical Engineering and Computer Science collaborative team of seniors Adam Laasko, Gabe Carlson, Matthew Kuznia and Zachary Wenzel who created a portable device that allows diabetic wounds to be assessed by using thermal mapping technology and a UV camera.

“Our project was pure innovation,” Kuznia said. The team engineered a device that was not only functional but also provided accessible results from a tablet or smartphone. Filling a need in the diabetic community was a driving factor in this project, which aims to more accurately assess wound severity and healing prognosis. Team member Gabe Carlson is a Type 1 diabetic himself.

“It has a lot of practicality in the medical field,” added Laasko. “There are a lot of senior design projects that are hard to apply, but seeing ours get results and have an effect on people makes it really interesting.”

For the past 22 years, this award has been bestowed to the students who have embodied the core values of Andrew “Andy” Freeman – innovation, communication and teamwork. Freeman was a UND engineering graduate and the general manager of Minnkota for 42 years. His legacy also includes inventing the head bolt heater – a plug-in heating device to help a car or tractor start on cold days.

WoundAssure was awarded $2,000 from the endowment established in 1996 in honor of Andy.

Minnkota’s Brendan Kennelly (left) presenting the 2022 Andrew Freeman Design Innovation Competition to the winning project, WoundAssure, team members. (Minnkota/Michael Hoeft)

“Keeping Andy’s legacy alive is really the key mission,” said Brendan Kennelly, Minnkota senior manager for power delivery engineering. Kennelly represented Minnkota while presenting the awards on May 10 in the Collaborative Energy Complex at UND.

“We are all very thankful for the support of Minnkota,” said Brian Tande, Dean of the College of Engineering and Mines. “This is always a fun event every year and as I’m sure you realize, a lot of work goes into these projects, not only by the students but by the faculty. Your recognition of that is very much appreciated.”

This competition featured seniors graduating with degrees in Electrical Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Computer Science. (Minnkota/Michael Hoeft)

The second-place winners reverse engineered a Digital Media Vending International (DMVI) slushie machine to increase the efficiency of the machine and improve product capacity. Team members were Mechanical Engineering seniors Jacob Hatfield, Elijah Riesgraf, Daniel Vallejos and Jorge Florencia were awarded $1,500.

The third-place winners focused on a method to convert fuel-grade ethanol into aromatic hydrocarbons. The project evaluated how various high-value chemicals could be created through this process. Team members were Chemical Engineering seniors, Abbie Radermacher, William Moe and Josiah Burkman were awarded $500.

MAIN IMAGE (Minnkota/Michael Hoeft) Left to right: Jacob Hatfield, second-place team; William Moe, third-place team; Elijah Riesgraf, second-place team; Josiah Burkman, third-place team; Gabe Carlson, first-place team; Brendan Kennelly, Minnkota; Matthew Kuznia, first-place team; Dr. Michael Mann, Associate Dean for Research; Brian Tande, Dean of the College of Engineering and Mines. Not pictured: Adam Laasko, first-place team; Zachary Wenzel, first-place team (distance student); Daniel Vallejos, second-place team (distance student); Jorge Florencia, second-place team (distance student); Abbie Radermacher, third-place team.


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