February 2, 2017
Thirty University of Central Florida alumni who earned their degrees in last fall have one very special bond: They all created bionic arms for children in their spare time while attending the university. One of the students, Alyssa Anderson, is a recent Nicholson School of Communication alumna who graduated with her bachelor’s degree in human communication in December.
The students are members of the UCF-based nonprofit Limbitless Solutions. They earned bachelor degrees in a variety of disciplines from engineering to digital media, and founder Albert Manero earned his doctorate in mechanical engineering.
Anderson began working with Limbitless Solutions as an administrative and human resources intern in August 2016. Her duties included managing tasks and introducing new volunteers to the Limbitless Solutions team.
She says the position helped her realize her professional potential.
“As a human communication major this presented an amazing opportunity to develop professionally but also continue my philanthropic interests and help others,” Anderson said. “I was able to help children throughout the United States come one step closer to receiving bionic arms.”
Limbitless Solutions launched in 2014 and continues to grow each semester. The students have designed, created and delivered 20 bionic arms for children in Florida, Washington, New York, Texas, Brazil, New Zealand and other places, changing their lives forever. Limbitless has a waiting list that continues to grow as new families hear of their work. Their efforts have garnered international attention from the likes of actor Robert Downey Jr., Microsoft and media companies from the U.S. to Russia, China, Europe and Latin America.
“It’s amazing,” said Manero, the founder. “It all started when a local family asked for help for their son who was born with part of his arm missing. We started out just at my kitchen table and had no idea it would grow and change so many lives. We’ve not only helped children imagine a future with no limits, but each of us has learned something beyond engineering. We’ve learned that what we do every day does matter and can make a difference. I’ve never been more proud of the work they’ve done, and what we can accomplish together.”
At least nine of the graduates have already accepted jobs from companies such as Lockheed Martin, Galatea Associates and Aerojet Rocketdyne. Others have been admitted to graduate degree programs, and now several more are weighing job offers from companies such as Momentum Worldwide, Northrop Grumman, Chewy, Lenovo, Boston Whaler, IBM and Siemens Energy.
Anderson is looking for jobs in human resources or client relations throughout the United States. The Florida native says she has lived in Florida her whole life and is ready for her next adventure.
Anderson and her 29 peers have different professional aspirations, but all consider the time they volunteered with Limbitless as an invaluable experience and an inspiration.
This story originally appeared on UCF Today.