Putting It Together: David Henry Provides a “Helping Hand”

Goodwin College CNC student David Henry spent most of his working career as a mechanic, examining how things functioned and putting his knowledge into practice as a fixer and a builder.

Two years ago, David decided the time was right to make a significant change in his life by enrolling in college. His initial experience at Goodwin College included a number of academic challenges. He turned for assistance to the Goodwin Achievement Program (GAP), in which eligible students enter through the General Studies program, then work with an advisor to move into their program of choice. GAP includes college readiness courses to refresh basic skills and learn additional skills necessary for core, college-level work.

Following his successful completion in GAP, David began Goodwin’s 30-credit certificate course in CNC Manufacturing. “GAP provided me with a solid foundation that empowered me to succeed at the College,” he says.

During his first semester in the program, David became fascinated with the idea of creating a robotic hand. He started out by buying a few erector sets from the dollar store, using them in early experiments. Following success with those trials, he began building an actual prototype hand.

“I added electronic components and it became a working hand,” he says. “After showing my project to some of my professors, I was encouraged to continue and improve on my design.”

Using a 3-D printer, David began to “print” the parts to create a hand and forearm. By wiring the hand and connecting it to a computer, he was able to make the hand successfully execute a variety of movements.

In addition, David has built a child’s prosthetic hand, bringing production costs in at about $25. He plans to donate the hand to a child in need, using his newly acquired skills to improve not only his live, but the lives of others as well.

Since completing his certificate in CNC Manufacturing, David has elected to continue his education by pursuing an associate degree in CNC Machining at Goodwin. “Doors I never even knew existed have begun to open for me,” he says. “The support and encouragement of my teachers, especially Professor Chip Thermer, Dr. Albert Pucino, and Dr. Lisa Wisniewski, have allowed me to realize my career goal.”

Learn more about the CNC program at Goodwin College.