“It was the most amazing marriage of creativity, engineering and art that I’d ever seen,” DukeEngage alum Diana Anthony recalls of her time spent volunteering at the Range of Motion Project (ROMP) lab in Quito, Ecuador during the Summer of 2014. ROMP, a mobility organization, supplies prosthetic limbs and orthotic braces to those who do not readily have access to these services.
“I loved my time in the lab,” Anthony adds, “getting the hands-on experience of building a substitute for a human limb—the opportunity to help build
the leg that would help someone walk again for the first time, and to watch them take their first steps—what an amazing experience!”
Anthony believes that some of the most valuable aspects of the volunteer program include working within a small team environment and witnessing first-hand ROMP’s impact on patients. “Volunteers get to interact with those they are volunteering to help. They are able to directly see the benefits of their work.” Anthony adds, “Not only are you able to help and give back, but personally, you learn a lot about the field of prosthetics and public health in the developing world.”
After finishing her degree, Anthony returned to Quito to work at ROMP full time as the Operations Manager for ROMP Global. Her responsibilities include managing a 3D printing project that she had started while she was a DukeEngage volunteer. “Taking the lead on the 3D printing project two years ago helped solidify my role as the manager of our 3D printing labs in all of our locations,” Anthony explains, “I scout new technologies or companies that I think might benefit ROMP, and then I get us involved.”
DukeEngage and ROMP celebrated their 5th year of partnership this summer. In her current role, Anthony works with DukeEngage volunteers and encourages more to apply. “Do it!” she says, “No matter if you think your Spanish isn’t quite there yet, or you aren’t sure what direction you want to take your studies or career. This organization and the people it serves are some of the best people you will ever meet, and they will show you a whole world of inspiration, dedication, and a desire to better themselves and the people around them. I can’t tell you exactly what this experience will do for you or how it may shape you, but I can tell you that it is worth it.”
This article was written by Brandi Thomas, guest writer.