President Visits with High School Students Behind Boy’s ‘Miracle’ Arm

February 15, 2018

President Zorica Pantić paid a special visit to a group of Rhode Island high school students February 14 to congratulate them on creating a prosthesis for a nine-year-old boy who was born without the lower part of his left arm.

“I wanted to come here to tell you how terrific your work is and how impressed we are,” she said. “We think you should all come to Wentworth.”

The 10 students, from sophomores to seniors at Scituate High School, collaborated with their science teacher, Shannon Donovan, on behalf of Olly Mancini. In December, Olly captured the heart of his Cranston, R.I., community and beyond when—with his mother by his side—he donned the prosthetic arm, fashioned by the students using a 3-D printer. Led by Donovan, the students used a version of the Pheonix Hand design and worked with Team Unlimbited.

Members of the student team told President Pantić that they grew to fully appreciate their work when Olly tried on the arm for the first time. The group is continuing to refine the arm in their school laboratory sessions.

The arm is allowing Olly to do the things that kids his age typically do. His mother, Nicole Mancini, an eighth-grade math teacher in Scituate, adopted Olly from China when he was two years old. She heard about others using 3-D printing for prosthetics and approached the high school about the project for her son.

President Pantic looking at a robotic hand

After reading Olly’s story in media accounts, Pantić contacted Scituate High School Principal Michael Hassell to arrange the meeting with the students, whom she praised in an email to Hassell.

“Your school has a lot to be proud of in this wonderful achievement,” she wrote. “As for the students themselves, they are precisely the type of young people that we enroll at Wentworth.”

“We are honored and privileged to have Wentworth reach out to us here today,” said Hassell.

Joined by Maureen Dischino, executive director for undergraduate admissions, Pantić told the students that Wentworth’s academic programs make extensive use of 3-D printing technology in laboratory-based courses and interdisciplinary project work.

“I believe that Wentworth represents an ideal destination for these students—a nurturing, exceptional learning environment where they can expand on their engineering and science creativity and innovative spirit.”

Among many degree options, Wentworth offers a bachelor of science in biomedical engineering, which would be particularly relevant and perhaps of interest to the students, Pantić added.

Dischino invited the students to visit Wentworth, and she and her staff are exploring financial aid and other admissions opportunities for them for when they begin to consider their college options.

--Dennis Nealon


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