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Tessa Gagne

At Clemson University, graduate students are playing a significant role in assisting world-class faculty with developing innovative research. Tessa Gagne is one those graduate students who has contributed greatly to the Clemson University research enterprise.

A master’s student and graduate research assistant in the College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences’ packaging science program, Gagne has been working on a research team with Gregory Batt, director of the Clemson Transport Testing Laboratory and associate professor in the department of food, nutrition, and packaging sciences, John DesJardins, a professor of bioengineering and director of the Laboratory of Orthopaedic Design and Engineering, and Davis Ferriell, a bioengineering doctoral student. Their team has been working to improve the design of football helmet facemasks in an effort to better protect football players from the effects of impact.

Through their research, the team has been able to develop a system to test the stiffness of facemasks to better understand how helmet systems will perform on the field and protect players on impact. As a result, the team has been able to measure several decreases in the severity of impact. Most recently, the team has been working on making helmets safer by creating a facemask that can help the helmet transfer forces away from the head, thus preventing direct contact with a player’s face, reducing traumatic brain injuries.

As an integral part of this research team, Gagne recently took top honors at Clemson’s Three-Minute Thesis (3MT®) competition, sponsored by Graduate Student Government (GSG), the Graduate School, the Office of the President, the Vice President for Research, the Office of the Provost, and the colleges. This yearly competition allows students to present their research while developing their professional communication skills. Gagne was awarded the top prize of $1,000 and will represent Clemson at the regional competition in February. Her presentation, on facemask technology designed to prevent concussions and other severe injuries in athletes, was dubbed the most engaging and informative of the 20 presentations by a panel of guest judges in the final round of the competition.

Gagne’s hands-on experience with research at Clemson University has allowed her to create valuable relationships with faculty mentors while developing as a research professional.

Learn more about Tessa Gagne here.

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