Honors Summer Snapshots: Courtney

Ever wonder what Honors students do during the summer? Honors Ambassadors and students will be taking you into their 2017 summer routines via photos. Courtney Smyth is in Tennessee this summer, creating prosthetic limbs:

Hi! My name is Courtney Smyth, and I will be a junior majoring in Mechanical Engineering and minoring in Biomedical Engineering. This summer I decided to move away from home and take an internship at a prosthetic manufacturing company in Nashville. I’ve spent the summer working at Amputee Associates, which has been such a great experience that I’m sad I only have a couple of weeks left!

Here’s a picture of all the goofballs I got to spend the summer with! It’s such a fun atmosphere that it’s surprising work gets done, but we actually produce close to 200 sockets a month. Amputee Associates primarily manufactures leg sockets for both above knee and below knee amputees. After a few days of shadowing, they really showed me the ropes and let me start working on some sockets.

 

These pictures show some of the steps and techniques used to make the sockets. In the top right is a plaster mold of a patient’s below the knee limb. The bottom left photo shows AJ and Jacob (being silly per usual) laminating a socket. This is done by layering carbon fiber, a fiber glass material, and resin to make a final sturdy socket. In the right side picture some of the guys are using a hot plastic sheet to form to a hip mold in order to create a plastic test socket. After the socket is done it’s off to the grinding room!

 

A bunch of different grinders are used to grind down the trim lines on the edges to match the ones the prosthetist drew on the mold. It’s a really dirty and loud job, which means I get to wear all of the fun safety gear!

 

You know you work with really cool people when the memento they make you is an Iowa State prosthetic leg lamp!

 

While my job is super fun, getting there isn’t quite as much. Unfortunately, there’s a bit of a difference between Nashville and Iowa traffic.

 

When I’m not at work I’ve tried to do some fun stuff in the Nashville area. Since I was here while the Predators were in the Stanley Cup, I went to lots of watch parties and am starting to became a hockey fan!

 

My family came for a weekend and we walked around downtown, ate some amazing (and I mean really amazing!) barbeque, found some murals, and listened to great music. We also did some white water rafting where I managed to take a little (involuntary) swim in the river.

 

Nashville has been such a great place to call home for the summer, and I’m beyond thankful for all of the experiences I’ve had here!

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