PROVO, UT- The National Science Foundation recently awarded BYU mechanical engineering students Braden Hancock and McCall Barger of Design Exploration Research Lab a $10,000 grant to work on engineering methods that will help the developing world.

“This was my first time applying for funding from the National Science Foundation. I'm excited about the opportunity I have to continue working in the lab on a project that has potential to aid others in the developing world,” said Barger.

Barger is researching a reconfigurable cookstove design that will help to diminish harmful emissions from traditional cookstoves and provide adaptable features for different regions.

“We have found from our research that many cookstove projects have not had sucessful dissemination processes in terms of their adoption rates. One problem we have realized is that the design organizations behind improved cookstove projects are not always valuing cultural requirements over things such as a reduction in emissions. Due to this, a large percentage will continue to use their traditional cookstove over the improved cookstove because their traditional cookstove was more tailored to their needs,” she said.

“Our hope is that this cookstove will not only help people in the developing world, but that it will be a model for others engineering efforts and change the concept of cookstove design for other improved cookstove programs,” she said.

Hancock follows the carpenters motto--measure twice, cut once--and is working on mathematical optimization methods that will help engineers create products that last longer and work better. His methods can be used to create everything from better cookstoves to jet engines.

The National Science Foundation believes in BYU students Barger and Hancock. They give grants to students they believe will have a long and promising career.

“They want me to stay connected to them throughout my career. It feels good to know they believe in me,” said Hancock.