A great education is no match for the inspiration to save lives.

Like nearly all students, Grant Kahl, a freshman at the Colorado School of Mines, and Eric Love, a high school senior at the International School of the Americas in San Antonio, had their formal education abruptly disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic in mid-March.

But, instead of kicking back and joining their friends for marathon Fortnite sessions while occasionally completing a long-distance school assignment, the pair of highly motivated problem solvers have chosen to work 12- to 16-hour days designing, building, programming, and tweaking a low-cost Ambu Bag Ventilator System. (Check out their video here.)

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Call it the ultimate self-directed project-based learning experience that no instructor or classroom could replicate.

Grant and Eric’s friendship developed as teammates on the USA Robotics Club in San Antonio, where they competed in FIRST® Tech Challenge, MATE ROV Competition, and other robotics activities. Grant has always favored mechanical and electrical engineering, which he is pursuing at CSM, and Eric focuses on programming, hence his plan to begin pursuing a degree in computer science engineering at Texas A&M this fall.

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About the Author:

Tom Farmer is a former journalist who now works as Communications Manager for Pitsco Education, where he serves as editor of publications including The Pitsco Network magazine and SySTEM Alert!, a free STEM newsletter for students. Learn more about Pitsco’s free resources for educators at STEM @ Home.