Saints Receive Honorary Proclamation

Saints Receive Honorary Proclamation

Friday, May 12, 2017

Their work creating prosthetic arms for children has received worldwide media coverage, and on May 12 they received an honorary proclamation from New York state Senator Neil D. Breslin.

Six key members of the Siena College e-NABLE team are graduating on May 14, and to mark the occasion, Sen. Breslin conferred the honor upon them in the office of Br. F. Edward Coughlin, O.F.M., Ph.D., president of Siena.

They are all members of the Class of 2017:

  • Alyx Gleason, Clifton Park, N.Y.
  • Miranda Marnes, Plattsburgh, N.Y.
  • Sara Mahar, East Greenbush, N.Y.
  • Alexander Warn, Peekskill, N.Y.
  • Kristen Connors, Clifton Park, N.Y.
  • Michelle Lieu, Schenectady, N.Y.

“Leave it to Siena College to do something so special, that combines both academic excellence and serving others,” said Sen. Breslin. “It’s an honor to meet these young people and recognize them for their efforts, which have made such a difference in the lives of the children with whom they worked.”

Br. Ed told the students that their work “perfectly exemplifies Siena’s Franciscan traditions” of service and scholarship.

Matthew Bellis, Ph.D., assistant professor of physics, and Graziano Vernizzi, Ph.D., professor of physics, were also honored for their work as the team’s faculty advisors.

“The students worked many hours to create each prosthetic,” said Dr. Bellis. “Not only was there academic research and lab work involved, they needed to learn to work with each other as a team, work with the families involved, and handle the logistics of getting the prosthetics to the recipients. It was an intense effort that involved many hours of work.”

The team received worldwide media attention last August for creating a "Frozen"-themed prosthetic arm for a 9-year-old Stillwater, N.Y. girl, Karissa Mitchell. The Today show, the China Times, the U.K. Daily Mail and many other outlets covered the happy news.

The team’s most recent effort was developing a prosthetic arm for a Ugandan girl who had been badly injured in a fire when she was a baby. The prosthetic was delivered to the girl this spring with the aid of a charity called The Giving Circle. Gleason and Marnes will travel to Uganda in June to visit the girl personally and check on her progress.

The team’s first project was creating an Iron Man-themed arm for an Ohio boy.