Dr. Stone and Dr. Krecji, along with Undergraduate Research Assistants Christian and Christopher Hernandez, worked on a project labeled PAWS during the summer of 2016. The goal of Partnering in Animal Welfare Service (PAWS) project is to ultimately increase the capacity of shelters in surrounding areas of Ames. That is about an hour radius around Ames. Overcrowding at shelters and homelessness are problems that exist within the animal community and through engineering applications, the research team can ultimately improve the lives of animals and the existing status of animal shelters. As a result, the team developed an agent based model that will hopefully correct the issues of animal shelters. This model includes entities such as animal shelters (no-kill or kill), animal rescues (foster or built), sanctuaries, transports, and special actors. This model will also account for any special circumstances (i.e. natural disasters). Furthermore, the model considers critical variables such as the euthanasia rate, return to owner rate, adoption rate, etc.
A report including the description of each entity and an analysis of ergonomics/best practices in animal shelters and animal handling was written with hopes of aiding in the establishment of the agent based model and educating the general public on the issues that plague the animal community. After reviewing numerous reports and studies conducted in the past, they have been able to gather valuable information that should be known. More specifically as an informative report, this report will educate the public on the specific entities present int he model and how to effectively run a shelter and handle animals. IN the end, the goal is to expand the model beyond the borders of Iowa.
In order to further improve local animal shelters, Dr. Stone, Christopher, and Christian Hernandez made direct contributions as well. They revised a shelter to increase capacity for Happy Tales Ranch and Rescue. Furthermore, they will be making cat runs for the Ames Animal Shelter. This work could not have been done without the help of John Sheriff.
Story County Shelter: HVAC System Improvements
Dr. Stone, working with Dr. Janis Terpenny worked on evaluating an animal shelter in terms of odor and adoptability for the pets in the Spring and Summer of 2015. The two professors continued their efforts through Fall 2015 and into Spring 2016 where they work on worker evaluation and facility redesign to improve worker safety, quality of care for animals, and the experience of potential adopters. The work includes assessing the animal shelter’s current HVAC system in terms of equipment ratings (size, efficiency), room dimensions and layout, the HAVC system’s duct and register/return network, and CFM (cubic feet per meter) readings from the system to evaluate air flow.
Youth Marketplace at Gilbert Middle School
Tom Schnieders, working with Susan Beisel (Senior Recruiter | Express Employment Professions & Ambassador for Ames Chamber of Commerce) and Chris Billings (Gilbert Community School Middle School Principal), participated in an entrepreneurial business simulation that requires 7th grade students to work in teams, use critical thinking skills, write, present, and creatively solve problems. The Youth Marketplace has been a part of the Gilbert Middle School curriculum since the school’s founding in 2006.
Tom Schnieders, Susan Beisel, and others participated in a “Shark Tank” style panel to judge the probability of success of the business and work for each business team. Five to six presentations, 10-15 minutes in length, are judged and the panelists determine how much money to invest in each start-up that is proposed. According to Chris Billings, “7th grade students often point to this as the best learning experience of the 7th grade year.”