Dr. Theresa Atkinson collaborates with a gradutate student in Kettering Universitys Crash Safety Lab

Thanks to the investment by the Ben F. Bryer Foundation, Kettering's Crash Safety Center can continue to provide students with hands-on crash testing experiences.”

Dr. Theresa Atkinson, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering

Kettering University Receives $75,000 Grant from Ben F. Bryer Foundation for Crash Safety Center Enhancement

Kettering University has announced a generous $75,000 grant from the Ben F. Bryer Foundation to upgrade its renowned Crash Safety Center (CSC). The grant will fund advanced data acquisition software, enhancing the center's capability to research vehicle safety.

Dr. Theresa Atkinson, an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Kettering, emphasized the importance of the grant. "Thanks to the investment by the Ben F. Bryer Foundation, Kettering's Crash Safety Center can continue to provide students with hands-on crash testing experiences,” Atkinson explained. “Our students learn how to set up crash dummies and access injury risk metrics, producing innovative graduates who bring a deeper understanding of safety to the world of mobility."

The CSC is the only U.S. facility that allows undergraduate students to conduct crash tests as part of their coursework. The updates will include miniDAU by Kistler, a sophisticated onboard data acquisition system that ensures robust data capture that is critical for advancing safety research.

Jack Gaddis (‘24, Mechanical Engineering), a senior mechanical engineering student working with Lear Corporation, has firsthand experience with the CSC. "In automotive seating, safety is always the number one priority,” Gaddis explained. “Having a complete understanding of all the measures that can be taken to ensure occupant safety is an invaluable experience to have for product design. The theory I learn in this class, even as an undergraduate, I directly apply to my work in automotive safety."

The need for such updates has become increasingly urgent as automotive transportation evolves. Introducing novel seating configurations in autonomous vehicles, such as "Living Room Style," poses new safety challenges, particularly concerning child car seat usage. According to the CDC, road traffic crashes remain a leading cause of death in the United States for people ages 1–54, underlining the ongoing necessity for improved automotive safety measures.

Robert Hurand, Co-Trustee of the Ben F. Bryer Foundation, highlighted the personal connection that motivated the grant. "Dr. Bryer was initially drawn to engineering but switched to medicine after a personal tragedy involving his mother’s early death due to a misdiagnosis," Hurand explained. "The Crash Safety Center's integration of engineering and health directly reflects his interdisciplinary approach to saving lives. We are honored to support this initiative, which closely aligns with his vision."

This grant honors Dr. Bryer’s legacy and ensures that Kettering University continues to provide a practical education that aligns closely with industry needs and societal benefits.