Published: April 18, 2024 By

Photo caption left to right: Hashirr Lukmahn, Cassie Sterns, Emily Wallace, Carter Andrew, Ben Peterson

The United Nations estimates that one woman dies every 2 minutes from preventable causes related to pregnancy. This is the statistic NYAGI Project founder Cliff Gronseth and his team of CS capstone students are seeking to change through ultrasound education technology. 

"We’re trying to bring not only the technology of ultrasound to remote corners of the world, but the ability for folks to learn how to use it," Gronseth said. 

Ultrasound uses sound waves to create images of the inside of your body. This immediate and noninvasive technique can allow health providers to identify life-threatening complications in pregnancy. However, identifying underlying structures and abnormalities requires training. That's where Gronseth's non-profit organization, the NYAGI Project, comes in. 

The NYAGI Project trains local healthcare workers to use ultrasound to identify a set of common, high-risk complications in pregnancy and physical trauma. Those workers then train others in their communities, building community agency and resilience.

"We are working on an application that can be used offline, anywhere," Capstone member Cassie Sterns (CompSci'24) said. "This is so that people, when they're learning how to use the ultrasound, don't have to necessarily be with the internet. The idea is that this can be used in extremely remote areas all over the world," she continued. 

Gronseth has now worked with two cohorts of capstone students. This group's focus has been on getting the ultrasound education modules to work offline and making them available on Android devices.

Speaking about the experience, capstone member Carter Andrew (CompSci'24) said, "I think we've had a really excellent experience. Our sponsor has a very direct goal for us that was exciting for all of us to work on."

Gronseth said that he appreciates working with students who are motivated. "Students should pick a project that they really believe in," he said, "Don't just check a box, don't just execute. If it's yours, you can feel ownership over creating it, and you'll feel good." 

Students were empowered to choose the projects that they wanted to work on by attending a project showcase where sponsors worked to convince students to partner with them. 

Capstone member Hashirr Lukmahn said it was an interesting experience. "Usually as students we'd have to appeal to employers to get employment opportunities, but in the case of the project showcase, they had to pitch to us why we should take the project," he said. 

Capstone member Ben Peterson (CompSci'24) said his group felt privileged to be part of a project with meaning. "Our sponsor has been very explicit about the fact that this could potentially save lives," he said.