Handprints e-NABLE Scotland is a student society at the University of Glasgow, where they make personalised 3D printed prosthetics for the local community free of charge. They specialise in 3D printing elbow or wrist-controlled prosthetics, that allow the user to grip and control objects.
Over the a series of posts we'll be profiling some of the people involved in this special project:
Hi, could you introduce yourself?
My name is María Cerezo and I am a 4th year biomedical engineering undegraduate student at the University of Glasgow as well as the 2019/2020 president of Handprints e-NABLE Scotland, an engineering society that is part of the e-NABLE global community where we 3D print prosthetics for anyone who needs them completely free of charge and where we do outreach and education activities to encourage children and teenagers to pursue a degree in engineering.
How did you get into your current field?
I was born and raised in Madrid, Spain. I was always the weird, nerdy type of kid who loved to read, loved science and (even more stereotypical) wasn't that good at sports. I started thinking about what I wanted to study at the beginning of high school, I knew I wanted to do something STEM related because that is what interested me the most and after some thinking, I decided I wanted to do aerospace engineering, mainly because I loved space and my dad was also an engineer so I wanted to follow his footsteps in that sense. However, when I was 14, I had to undergo a spinal surgery due to severe scoliosis. While my parents were worried sick about the actual surgery, I was just fascinated with the fact that you could put titanium onto someone's backbone and it wouldn't cause a problem! I started researching about it and one day my mom talked to me about a degree she had heard about at an education conference, biomedical engineering. As soon as I did some research on it, I knew I had found my career path.
What are your goals?
When I started university, I thought that all I would be doing would be studying and taking exams. Boy was I wrong!
On my second year, a society called Handprints e-NABLE Scotland was created and I was lucky enough to be selected as a team member for the very first prosthetics project that was launched. After that, I was selected to be the team leader of 2 other prosthetics projects. I fell in love with the feeling that I got when my team and I gave the prosthetic hand to a child. I felt such a deep connection with this society that I run for the role of president and was lucky enough to be selected for the 2019/2020 academic year. Throughout the year, our main goals have been to promote the society further and exploring new project ideas such as animal prosthetics. We are very fortunate to have been selected as one of the finalists for the Best Engineering Society of the Year award run by EqualEngineers and moving forward, I am sure that the new committee will work towards reaching more people in need as well as encouraging more and more children to go on to study engineering in the future!
Do you have a mentor?
As a society, we are are mostly student-led, meaning that a student committee is the one that actually runs the society and all the projects and events that take place. Nonetheless, we do have an academic advisor (Dr. Julien Reboud) and other academics that are always there to lend us a hand if we need it.
Do you mentor anyone?
I wouldn't say that the job we do is mentoring per se, but we do teach all our members things that are not taught in their engineering or science degrees, such as 3D printing and more advanced CAD skills. Our education and media teams are known for teaching their members communication skills and all members are encouraged to participate in the various workshops we run throughout the year.
What tips would you give to someone wanting to break into tech/STEM?
First of all, I would say to not be afraid to ask. I know a lot of people that don't venture into STEM subjects because they seem uniteresting to them and because they don't know anything about them. I can assure you that anyone currently within any STEM field will be happy to answer any questions you have.
As for women that are thinking about joining a STEM subject, I would say to not be afraid. It might seem intimidating at first and there might be people that believe that you don't belong there, but I can assure you there is nothing better than succeeding and proving them wrong.
Who do you follow? What blogs do you read?
I might sound stereotypical, but a 4th year engineering student doesn't have much time to read anything other than textbooks! However, I do follow a couple of science-related social media accounts (sorry, but some are in Spanish I'm afraid!):
- Mujeres con ciencia on Facebook
What's the best way to keep up to date with what you're doing?
To keep up to date with our work at Handprints e-NABLE Scotland, you can follow us on facebook, twitter and instagram or visit our website at https://www.handprintsenable.com/
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