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Students Discover Higher Purpose While Reinventing the Wheel

December 2013

BYU engineering students Charles and Amy Wood designed a wooden cart made from a single sheet of plywood, an innovation with significant implications for people in developing countries.

“It is made with just plywood and four bolts so that people can assemble the cart without tools,” Charles explains. “This way people without a whole lot of resources can have transportation to bring goods to market.”

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Charles and Amy designed the cart after traveling to Peru as part of a global engineering project team. “Living with people who didn’t have a lot really impacted me,” says Charles. “At first I just wanted to be an engineer so I could race motorcycles, but after this and my mission experience I felt I needed to use my skills to help others.”

Amy had a similar change of plans. “I wanted to be a chemical engineer so that I could save the earth,” she says. “But I realized that for me, helping others was more important.”

picture of Charles and Amy Wood next to a cart and a board with outlines to cut out another one.

Of her journey Amy says, “My experience in Peru was the culmination of my education. And what has followed has given me the chance to apply everything I learned to something that can affect people in real life. I’m on a small student budget, and that trip would not have been possible without support.”

Charles also expresses his gratitude for BYU donors. “I think a pivotal moment for us was having someone believe in us, someone who was willing to invest in us, so that we could make a difference with the skills we’ve gained.”

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