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UNK professor utilizing resources, helping out

Kounovsky-Shafer's daughter and husband are helping out where they can. The printers are situated in the basement and working around the clock.
Kounovsky-Shafer's daughter and husband are helping out where they can. The printers are situated in the basement and working around the clock.(KSNB)
Published: Apr. 21, 2020 at 7:04 AM CDT
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Kristy Kounovsky-Shafer typically uses her 3D printers for DNA genome sequencing and analysis. Now they're set up in her basement printing parts to face shields.

Kounovsky-Shafer is an associate chemistry professor at UNK who, similar to all professors and teachers, is working from home. When she realized she had the capacity to help out, via her printers, she made the decision to do so.

Most of her students either are currently in the healthcare field or plan on going into it and healthcare, although those facts contributed to her decision they weren't the only factor.

"I would've done it no matter what," Kounovsky-Shafer said.

Kounovsky-Shafer is part of a volunteer group called COVID-19 PPE which is made up of members from Hastings, Grand Island and Kearney. Members do whatever they can to help out; whether that be printing parts to face shields, like Kounovsky-Shafer, or sewing face masks, or picking items up, or dropping them off.

According to a UNK press release, Kounovsky-Shafer has created parts for more than 150 face shields in the past three weeks. She's sent them across Nebraska to any person or group in need. People can also submit equipment requests to COVID-19 PPE.

Kounovsky-Shafer said getting the printers to her house wasn't too much of an issue. She enlisted her nine-year-old daughter for help, loaded them onto carts and pushed them through the halls to load them up and eventually get them home.

As for the machines, their function doesn't change, Kounovsky-Shafer simply had to input a different program into the software used to program the printers and let them do their job.

Both her husband and daughter help out where they can and are enjoying the process.

Kounovsky-Shafer said people step up and rally together in times such as these and she's just doing her part.

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