KEELEY COBURN OF SOUTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY, a member of the women's golf team, has been selected the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Character and Community Female Student Athlete of the Week for the week beginning May 2, 2016.
Coburn is an involved college student at Southwestern University. In addition to completing her degree in physics this spring, Coburn is a member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and the Pirates women’s golf team, and she works for Southwestern Intramural and Recreational Activities.
As a member of SAAC, Coburn, who is the secretary of the organization, helped with community service projects that included the Georgetown Boys & Girls Club and Special Olympics.
However, Coburn also made an impact on campus through an engineering class.
Along with her partners Amir Hessabi and Chandler Johnson, Coburn worked on a project that allowed students to have access to electricity outdoors. The trio came up with a prototype for a solar chair that has turned out to be a big hit on campus.
The students built the prototype for around $500, thanks to help from Southwestern shop manager Gerry Wade and a machine shop in Walburg, Texas. The chair also won the award for best creative project at the 2014 Southwestern Research and Creative Works Symposium.
In the summer of 2014, the group finished the second prototype and received a patent for it.
“It was a really cool experience to have this initial concept and then evolve into something that a lot of people love on campus,” Coburn said.
Four solar chairs now sit on campus, on the edge of Southwestern’s academic mall.
“It’s a creative way to get people outside,” Coburn added. “Southwestern is such a pretty campus, but everyone was inside the Bishops Lounge charging their phones or doing homework. It’s nice to be able to go outside and edit your paper without worrying about your battery dying.”