© 2022 WRVO Public Media
Your Source for NPR News
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

CNY STEM students create prosthetics for those in need

Local teens are getting firsthand experience as they study potential careers in the STEM field, and they’re helping central New Yorkers who need prosthetic limbs at the same time.

The students are part of this summer’s “Erie21 Innovation Academy” at Le Moyne College. As part of AT&T’s Hand in Hand program, they take measurements to create real prosthetics using 3D printing technology.

Ken Sieperman, who became an amputee eight years ago said he hopes the students learn how powerful this new technology can be for people who need it.

"It's never going to be exactly the same, but individual enhancements can be very helpful,” said Sieperman. “I know that because I have a (prosthetic) hand."

Heidi Pauta, 17, said the program has expanded her horizons about what a medical career could mean for her.

"This is a different aspect that I never even thought of, so it's very interesting to see," said Pauta.

Kevin Hanna, Director of External Affairs at AT&T, said more than 75% of students the company hires straight out of college are hired for STEM, or science, technology, engineering, and math, positions. He hopes the Hand-in-Hand program will teach students how big of a difference they can make in these fields.

"It really ties the technology that they're learning to the human being who will benefit from the technology, and that's a very powerful experience for the students," said Hanna.

Hanna said the students will take their measurements and create finished products to give to the prosthetics recipients in the fall.