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Aiding amputees in Guatemala

Joseph Coulson, bachelor’s in Exercise Science

I bolstered my resume for acceptance into medical school while providing a valuable service to amputees in a third-world country. As part of the International Service Abroad club, I joined about a dozen UVU students who spent two weeks in Guatemala to provide free prostheses to patients who have no other means of obtaining them.

As a pre-medical student, my role was to build and fit the prosthetic devices on site in Guatemala. First, we would heat a polypropylene polymer material and place it on the amputated area to create a perfect mold. Then, as we fitted the new joints and limbs, my job was to monitor the patient’s gait to see how we could modify the design to be more natural. In addition to helping amputees, I made good friends and enjoyed watching my teammates employ their many skills on behalf of these good people.

This project will benefit me when apply to medical school, but beyond that I had a chance to feel more connected to the world and put my education to good use.

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