Life-changing. Surprising. Inspiring: these were some of the words students enrolled in Hand in Hand Powered by AT&T,  a science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) summer program, used to describe the experience they had designing four prosthetic hands for children in need using 3D printing technology.

Hand in Hand, Powered by AT&T exposed 45 students, primarily from local urban middle and high schools, to basic knowledge of anatomy and careers in medical technology, plus fundamental technology skills in 3D printing, engineering design, computer coding and advanced fabrication, in addition leadership training and service learning. Online open source resources provided by e-NABLE, a global community of volunteers who fabricate assistive devices for people in need all over the world, guided the final design and fabrication of the prosthetic hands.

This two-week program had tremendous impact on the students, the teachers, and the recipients and their families, too. Felice Masumbuko, a rising junior from Lackawanna High School was one of the 15 Project Team Leaders, and he commented, “Thanks to this program, I was able to ‎interact with different types of people with different perspectives and learn from each and everyone one of them. I also learned how to apply my knowledge to certain tasks I have never done before.”

Amy McCarthy, recipient Katelyn’s mother said, “Getting this prosthetic arm will allow Katelyn to be more independent. We are so grateful to be part of this project.”

Innovative education projects like this are a priority for AT&T, said Kevin Hanna, Director of External Affairs for AT&T. “AT&T is proud to have been able to collaborate with WNY STEM. As the world’s economy continues to transform at a robust pace — requiring a workforce with a focus on technological education and literacy — STEM and STEAM programs like this one that provide immersive learning environment are vital to ensure that students are equipped with the skills so they are able to compete in today’s innovation economy.”

In addition to AT&T, we are grateful to all our Hand in Hand collaborators: n Health Sciences Charter School n United Way of Buffalo and Erie County n AW Miller Technical Sales n Roswell Park Cancer Institute n University at Buffalo Center for Integrated Global Biomedical Sciences