Oakton student employee leading 3D printed PPE donation project
Oakton is donating COVID-19 face shields to area health care facilities
Last updated 4/9/2020 at 5:47pm
Oakton student employee and alum Matt Slizys is helping to save lives. Slizys is spearheading a project using 3D printers at the college's Skokie campus to create COVID-19 face shields to distribute to local hospitals and health care facilities.
Slizys, with the assistance of Oakton's Manufacturing Technology Department faculty members, have created at least 25 face shields, with the goal of producing 100. Once that objective has been reached, college officials will determine which agencies would be the most feasible to donate the vital equipment to for immediate use.
"Being able to do something to help others with this PPE movement is simply an amazing feeling," Slizy says. "Instead of sitting in and quarantining myself, I'm able to be productive with my days and make a difference."
As a proud Lithuanian, Slizys, 24, is also looking to lead a cause dear to his heart – donating PPE equipment to senior living care facilities in the Chicago area that house members of the Lithuanian community.
Slizys said he came up with the idea to create PPE after finding a Facebook group page geared toward making face shields for Swedish medical professionals.
"I saw the Facebook page had some files to make PPE and with some help I was able to modify the design to make the equipment fit better and easier to produce," he says.
Slizys attributes Oakton for preparing him to tackle such endeavors. He said he is able to apply all the knowledge he gained at Oakton through courses like Introduction to 3D Printing, Introduction to Solid Works and computer-aided design courses to assist others during the pandemic.
Faculty Coordinator of Manufacturing, Mechanical Design/CAD Boguslaw Zapal says that Slizys always shined in the classroom and was enthusiastic about applying what he learned for practical use.
"In every course Matt took with me, he was always asking for additional sources to expand his learning beyond class curriculum," Zapal says. "While taking courses, he was always curious about how the material he learned could be utilized for real word applications. I wish we get more students in manufacturing program that are so engaged and passionate about learning about modern manufacturing and industrial automation as Matt is."
Slizys graduated from the college last semester with an Associate in Applied Science degree in Manufacturing Technology. While attending Oakton, he served as a student employee for the Manufacturing and Technology Department. He still works in that capacity while he waits to transfer to Purdue University, where he plans to study reprogramming robots or working with industrial 3D printers.
"Oakton helped me to gain valuable hands-on experience, confidence and knowledge to be able to create projects that can help the world," he says.