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Doing Their Part: Making Masks

What started out as an activity to pass the time during the coronavirus stay at home order has become a necessity. Among others, graduate student Megan Boland and Sherry Li, IT Operations Analyst, have taken to making cloth masks.

It was news of the mask shortage for medical professionals that initially prompted Li to start making masks for friends, family and coworkers. She also liked the idea of fabric face masks that could be made of natural fabric and washed to be reused.


Li, who misses seeing the smiling faces of Weaver Labs in person, can finish a basic mask in 20 minutes but another pattern that she calls “more fashionable” can take an hour.

Graduate student Megan Boland started making masks in April. The first one she made took her one hour, but she’s whittled that down to 30 minutes for her favorite design.

“I love sewing and have plenty of scrap fabric and elastic lying around,” Boland says. “It’s a small thing but I can at least feel like I am helping in some way!”

Like Li, Boland gives them to friends and family who are interested, dropping them off in their mailboxes.

A doctoral student studying anaerobic digestion for bioreactors, much of her research is in the lab, so initially not being able to be there created a slowdown. Typically, she would have to be in the lab every day to take care of her reactors, but fortunately she finished an experiment she had been working on for the last six months before campus initially closed down.

Those samples were sent to a lab for DNA sequencing and the next step is just waiting to get that data back.

For now, she’s analyzing other data and writing as much as she can.

“I will never complain about working long hours in the lab again. I miss it!”