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Peter Schwarzenberg
Class of 2016
Mechanical Engineering
Ph.D. student in Mechanical Engineering
Hometown: Kingwood, West Virginia

What Baker programs were you involved in?

We started with LaunchBayC, we did Eureka! This past summer, Nick and I hired interns with the internship grant through the Baker Institute.

What project were/are you involved with?

South Mountain Medical. We created a portable hand-held device to help paramedics start IV catheters, getting a line for fluid or medication out in the field without the hospital setting.

What problem did your project address and what was the solution?

Both Nick and I have family in the medical field. While doing research, we realized that people really weren’t very good at starting IVs. Just through that we started looking at military medics, because they have very little training. But then we realized how much paramedics in the States start IVs and how there’s this need to get them better placement. Our goal is to avoid IO (intraosseous), which is when you drill into the bone. If they can’t get access to your vein, they have to gain access through your bone, or you just go without fluids.

What was your “transformative moment” during this project?

At the end of last semester, I had accepted a job in Seattle, and I was ready to move out there. We were doing a research project for this class and it was like 11:30 at night and Nick said “Screw it, let’s try this device on me and see if it’ll work. And so we’re messing around and the first time we missed, but we got it to work the second and third time. So I think that was the big ‘aha’ moment that got us through the summer, because I would have been in Seattle otherwise...Also, winning Eureka!. Winning Eureka! made us realize that we did kind of know what we were doing! We were the grand prize winners and we won $17,500!

What are you dreams for this project?

Our dream would be to have a clinical study with our device done. That would be huge for us. If we could have a formal clinical study where we can prove that this works – not only will it get us to a point where we’re legit, we can start talking to people about its effectiveness. It would just be a big milestone for us.

What do you foresee as your next steps in life?

I’m here for about 5 years for a PhD program. I really like research and I’d like to get into industry research. But after 5 years of academia, I don’t know if I’m going to want to stay in the academic setting – but definitely research of some kind.

What are your other passions (hobbies, heroes, sports, etc.)?

Nick and I are avid runners, we do it all the time. But we also nerd out. We bought a drone, and we want to build a drone, so we’re trying to organize drone parts...Heroes: my Mom is definitely one of those figures for me. She’s the person that I get my work ethic from – where you get it done or find a way to get it done. She’s very good at problem-solving, and if she doesn’t know the answer, she’ll figure it out. In this project, I definitely have seen myself acting like my Mom.