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News Channel 5: Tennessee Tech student engineers create prosthetics for Murfreesboro middle school drummer

June 13, 2024

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WTVF) — The Sauvie household in Murfreesboro can be quite loud.

Twelve-year-old Aubrey, however, refuses to keep quiet.

"She just does whatever she wants to do," said Aubrey's mom, Jennifer.

"I'm really into music," Aubrey said. "I could just lay down, listen to any genre of music, and it makes me feel happy."

One of the things that impresses me most about Aubrey is not only how she can play the drums, but rather how she handles what can make middle school so tough.

"A lot of kids making fun of me," she said.

"Aubrey was born a triple congenital amputee," Jennifer said.

Aubrey just began to learn to play the drums this past school year. There has never been the attitude that Aubrey can't do something. Instead, it's just a matter of what she needs to succeed.

"Yeah a lot of people are very rude," she said about bullying. "It's primarily kids. Sometimes they come up to me and just start touching my arms so I'm just — whoa."

This has never stopped Aubrey. She has danced competitively, loves art, and has a black belt in Taekwondo.

"We have always looked for resources, we've had lots of support and help," Jennifer said.

This led Aubrey to work with engineering students at Tennessee Tech and Dr. Stephen Canfield's program, Tech Engineering for Kids.

"These are custom designed," Canfield said about Aubrey's prosthetics. "They (the students) scan her arm and made many versions to custom fit her."

These were made using the school's 3D printers.

Students continued to work with Aubrey to get the fitting right. Canfield says there were multiple versions made until it could properly fit her.

"People look at me and will be like, I bet she isn't able to do anything but I can do everything," she said. "So it doesn't really bother me."