post-doctoral fellow Krishna Bastola and undergraduate Trisha Buck. The objective is to create a condom that is good for around 100 uses. It would have to be boiled for around 20 minutes after each use, but it would not require a special cleaner. In late August, engineers completed the first round of nearly a dozen prototypes of material for the reusable condom, producing some promising possibilities. Engineers believe the material may have other uses as well.
The group is navigating through the patent process for both the idea and the material. “The focus is on people without access,” Mayo says. “It’s not for novelty purposes; it’s for disease prevention.” Mayo has established a limited liability company called Pearl Health, named for Pearl House, a girls’ home in Africa that Mayo helped establish. In addition to reusable condoms, Pearl Health is working to create reusable catheters, gloves and other health products for developing countries.
The Future Though there is a lot of work still to be done, the project’s momentum continues to build. The National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance tabbed Mayo as one of just 22 University Innovation Fellows from across the country. The program says it “supports the next generation of innovators striving to improve the lives of underserved populations in developing countries worldwide.” “All I know is I’m trying something and people are on board. We are meeting a need for somebody. I have a huge bucket list, even if this doesn’t work out,” she explains. Mayo, who avidly watches TED talks, was excited to be afforded the opportunity to share her project and message during the TEDx OStateU event in October 2013. Mayo is set to finish her coursework in the spring 2014 semester and will do a full-time internship before graduating this summer. “The health education and promotion program has really helped me,” Mayo says. “The faculty [members] have been great about incorporating international perspectives [into discussions and curriculum].” Mayo is clear that she prefers village life and plans to go back after graduating. “What I really hope to do is encourage people to think outside of our American, Oklahoma box. I want people to go and see for themselves. Seeing it in person is different. It’s life-changing.”
S ee i t Visit OState.tv to watch Jennifer Mayo’s presentation at TEDx OStateU in October 2013.
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Published on May 28, 2014