Wednesday, 28 Sep 2022

Hofstra engineering student's failed 3D-printed arch stands as symbol of "resilience"

Hofstra engineering student's failed 3D-printed arch stands as symbol of "resilience"

New York (Writer)- This month, as we celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander heritage, we introduce you to a first-generation soon-to-be college graduate who is spreading an important message at one Long Island university.

She turned a mistake into a work of art, CBS2's Carolyn Gusoff reported Monday.

At the Hofstra University library, stands twisted plastic that was, by engineering standards, a failure.

Senior Esther Zhang was tasked with designing a structure to complete her degree. But in the months-long process it "pretty much" failed, Zhang said.

"I just wanted to create this large scale arch, by like 12-foot in span. Something that people could walk underneath," Zhang said.

Her 3D-printed mesh creation was supposed to form a perfect arch. But in the baking process, it overheated, sagging to the ground.

"It was very disappointing because I had worked for so long," Zhang said.

"It was devastating. We saw that the piece had not performed as we hoped it would," Professor Ted Segal said.

The project now stands as a symbol for college seniors. Zhang made from it two smaller arches and named it "Resilient."

"It took a lot of resilience I think to make it through these four years," she said.

College interrupted seemingly endless COVID challenges.

"Took a mental toll," Zhang said. "Just being stuck at home was a big factor that I think that made us feel like our college career was robbed from us."

Resilient means the ability to be reshaped without breaking, adapting to change. The two arches now make a point.

"You have to be adaptable," Segal said.

"I just want people to know that they're capable of so much more than they know and there's so much in them that is able to push through to the end," Zhang said.

She credits her parents, Chinese immigrants, with instilling the lessons of resilience. Three daughters - all first-generation college grads.

"Even though their entire life and family is back home in China, they stuck it through all these years for their children so that we could have a better life," Zhang said.

An experience that not only shaped a college project into a work of art, but is also shaping a lesson for the entire Hofstra community. When things don't go as planned, pivot.

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