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Alumnus Creating Face Shields For Science Faculty, Students, and Healthcare Workers

Alumnus Lars Petersen wearing a completed face shield.

Alumnus Lars Petersen wearing a completed face shield.


For the past few months, while much of campus was quiet due to the pandemic, in the SUNY Schenectady Center for Science and Technology, a 3-D printer was running in the Electronics Laboratory, creating face shields for healthcare workers. Now, SUNY Schenectady alumnus Lars Petersen, the man behind the project, is creating face shields for the College’s science faculty members and students so that they can use them in biology, chemistry, and biochemistry labs this fall. Providing them with face shields is an extra precaution for the experiments they will be doing in labs since they will also be wearing masks and safety glasses rather than the usual goggles which would fog up with the masks. (This fall, the College will be holding a limited number of science labs on campus with six to eight students in each lab adhering to social distancing, while lecture style courses will continue to be taught virtually.)

So far, Lars has produced about 450 complete shields since early April, with 300 more expected to be printed this summer. He had been printing the face shields exclusively at the College until recently when he moved the operation to his home on Mariaville Lake. “I 100 percent love doing this,” he said. “I have a 5-year-old son and the fact that he can see his father volunteering to make these and see something good in the world - that’s all I need.”

The first 50 face shields Lars created were sent in April to a group of nurses working with elderly COVID-19 patients in New York City when the need for PPE there was the greatest. The next group of 167 shields were delivered locally to Saratoga Hospital through Saratoga 3-D Print Against COVID-19, a grass-roots project started by Adam Smisloff. Lars has partnered with the organization since April and the group has distributed the other face shields to local hospitals and rehabilitation facilities in the area.  

Tania Cabrera, Dean of the Division of Math, Science, Technology and Health (MSTH), said that having Lars create face shields for faculty/students in her division and healthcare workers, has been inspiring. She noted that he holds degrees in Nanoscale Materials Technology (2014) and Alternative Energy Technology (2017) from SUNY Schenectady, and is a member of the Math, Science, Technology and Health Advisory Committee, a computer programmer, equipment repairman, and former Systems Technician at General Electric.

“Lars has been an active part of the SUNY Schenectady community since he was enrolled in my first ever Materials Science course in the Spring 2009 semester,” she said.  “We are thrilled that the SUNY Schenectady MSTH division and Lars could get involved in providing face shields for our faculty and students, and PPE for those healthcare workers on the front lines of the COVID crisis.”