ttu logo

tennessee technological university

TTU News

Published: Tue May 4, 2010

Tennessee Tech University Engineering professor Stephen Canfield and freshman engineering major Kaylee Marie Radzyminski hold two different perspectives on their chosen profession, but they share a dedication to service.

Because of their outstanding efforts to serve others, both have been chosen to receive a 2010 Rep. Harold Love Outstanding Community Service Award presented by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission.

Stephen Canfield

Canfield, along with Dean Richey in TTU’s curriculum and instruction department, initiated the Early Intervention and Mechanical Engineering project at TTU in 1999.

The program leverages the skills of engineering students to significantly enhance the services provided to children with special needs in the Upper Cumberland region. EIME identifies children who need special equipment that is either too expensive or simply does not exist on the market.

Canfield’s engineering class works on several projects each semester, consulting with parents, therapists and often the child to make sure their final projects meets the physical and often the emotional needs of the child. The project provides students with a clear view of the social impact of engineering and how their career can affect others.

There haven been many happy endings over the past decade for everyone involved in EIME, and the smiles are unforgettable. For example, this past holiday season, a nine-year-old boy with spina bifida received a customized bike to allow him to exercise and play with schoolmates on the playground.

Once an informal collaboration, the program now includes Tennessee Early Intervention System, Children’s Special Services, local school districts and Tennessee’s Department of Special Education.

Canfield has been honored for this work by the Tennessee Board of Regents and the university through several awards. The projects are regularly featured in the Nashville television market and university publications.

Kaylee Marie Radzyminski

At the age of 15, Radzyminski founded “Tunes 4 the Troops,” a non-profit venture to deliver new and used CDs and DVDs to troops stationed abroad. She founded the effort in 2005 while attending Sea Cadet Camp in Pensacola, Fla. She talked to some Marines and asked what they missed most while serving abroad. First, they missed their families, but the second most common answer was entertainment.

After returning home, she came up with the idea to send her CDs and DVDs overseas to troops. Word began to spread, and in about three months, she collected more than 500 items. She didn’t have funds to cover shipping costs for the first delivery, so she and her mother personally delivered the entertainment to Bethesda Naval Hospital and Walter Reed Army Hospital.

That visit and its impact fueled her desire to bolster support. To date, more than 620,000 CDs and DVDs, worth in excess of $9 million, to troops stationed abroad.

Her story has been featured in Teen Vogue, as well as on Fox’s Studio B with Shepard Smith,, the Military Channel and the Pentagon Channel. The Washington Post named her one of the Country’s Top 5 Leaders Under 30.

Through her leadership, other young people have established U.S. satellite locations. She sends organizers support materials and troop contact information and encourages them to stayed involved with their community. She’s been contacted by individuals in Canada and England who want to establish similar programs.

Now at Tennessee Tech, Radzyminski, a Cleveland, Tenn., native, participates in TTU’s ROTC program and plans to serve in the U.S. Army. She is networking with TTU’s Service Learning Center to centralize and sustain “Tunes 4 the Troops” after she graduates.