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Local Teens Will Learn STEAM Skills By Building Prosthetic Hands At CNY Summer Camp


Central New York teens have the chance this summer to participate in a STEAM summer day camp that results in helping someone in need.  It’s called “Hand in Hand”, where students entering 7th through 12th grades will work in teams to design and fabricate prosthetic hands for local youth and seniors using 3-D printers. 

Joe Vargo is executive director of Partners for Education and Business and knows how this camp can have an impact.

“There’s nothing like a student’s eye looking at a person who has a need, that they can help to mitigate some of the challenges that a loss of a limb might present,” said Vargo. “So it’s really rewarding.”

Regional Director for AT&T external affairs Kevin Hanna echoes Vargo’s sentiment.

You can see the impact that it has on the children,” said Hanna. “They understand when you apply the science and the technology and the math and the engineering as well with some artistry in terms of the 3-D printing and the design. It’s really powerful. Technology can be fun and it can also help people.”

Credit AT&T
Buffalo students build prosthetics for children and seniors who have lost limbs.

AT&T has supported numerous STEM camps here and across the state for years.  The “Hand in Hand” camp is free, and transportation and lunch are available.  Hanna says they’re focused on eliminating barriers in an effort to ensure inclusion and diversity.

“Underserved areas that might not normally have access to programs like this, and also to have female representation,” said Hanna. “There is a gender gap and a diversity gap in many STEM disciplines.”

He says the idea is to introduce STEM at an early age in hopes they pursue a STEM education and career.  The in-person camp comes as many other summer activities go virtual or have been cancelled altogether.  Joe Vargo says this experience can’t be duplicated.

“At this point we figure that students might need a rest from a lot of that virtual, sitting in front of the computer,” said Vargo. “That’s why we think this camp would be very attractive. Especially with the high level of concertation that we have on the technology and the anatomy.”

The camp will be held July 27th through 30th and August 3rd through 6th at the Museum of Science and Technology.  The deadline to apply is July 8th.  The program will strictly follow county, state, and CDC guidelines to ensure safety including temperature checks, reduced group sizes, increased cleaning, and social distancing.  Information and registration can be found here.

Scott Willis covers politics, local government, transportation, and arts and culture for WAER. He came to Syracuse from Detroit in 2001, where he began his career in radio as an intern and freelance reporter. Scott is honored and privileged to bring the day’s news and in-depth feature reporting to WAER’s dedicated and generous listeners. You can find him on twitter @swillisWAER and email him at