Young Man Pursues PhD to Design Prosthetic Limbs After Experiencing Limb Loss
In Vista, California, a young man named Andrew Seelhoff prepares to give back to the amputee community as he starts his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering.
When he was just 13 years old, Seelhoff made a difficult decision to amputate his leg due to a painful condition called rare vascular malformation and could not walk for seven years. However, this setback did not deter him from pursuing his dreams; it inspired him to study mechanical engineering further.
Nine years after his amputation surgery, Seelhoff has graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and is preparing to begin his next academic endeavor at the University of Michigan, where he will pursue a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering.
Seelhoff’s decision was influenced by his own experience as an amputee. He wanted to design prosthetic limbs that would help other amputees live better, more mobile, and independent lives. But as he neared the end of his undergraduate years, he realized he needed to gain more research experience and expand his academic knowledge to achieve his dream of designing prosthetic limbs. This realization prompted him to pursue a five-year Ph.D. degree.
In an interview with ABC 10 News, Seelhoff shared that his amputee journey fueled his passion for prosthetics. And the more he delves into the intricacies of prosthetic design and control, the more his love for the field grows.
“It is very fulfilling to kind of be able to pay it forward after all the support I’ve had over the years through surgeries and post-operation and stuff. So, definitely kind of nice to close the loop on it,” Seelhoff told ABC 10 News.
Also, in an interview with ABC 10 News, his mother, Mary Seelhoff, shared that she was recently reminded of her son’s amputation anniversary through Facebook. It has been nine years since Seelhoff could live a pain-free day, and she said she couldn’t help but feel overwhelmed with emotions.
As Mary watches her son thrive and follow his passion, she could not be prouder. “It’s so wonderful to see him so excited about his future and prosthetics and where this has taken him,” she told ABC 10 News.
Seelhoff’s journey is a great reminder that it’s possible for beautiful things to come out of loss.