Albert Manero, the leader of UCF’s #Limbitless Solutions team that developed an inexpensive 3-D arm for a local boy in its spare time, will be the keynote speaker today at the fifth annual Sunshine State Scholars conference Feb. 19-20.

The two-day conference in Orlando concludes today and honors the top science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) 11th graders in the state. The event recognizes the students for their academic achievements and introduces them to STEM-related programs of study and careers.

The program is a collaboration of the Florida Education Foundation, the State University System of Florida, the Florida College System, and the Florida Department of Education.

Education and business leaders meet with students to help broaden their understanding of all the possibilities that they can explore with a firm foundation in STEM.

Manero, who holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from UCF in aerospace engineering and is working on his Ph.D, began Limbitless Solutions last year when he heard a story on the radio about children needing hands and arms and a national organization that was trying to help. He joined the group and soon had a request from the mother of 7-year-old Alex Pring.

A short time later, Manero pulled together a team of classmates and friends to help him build the arm for Alex. They built a 3-D printed functional arm in eight weeks for about $350 and gave Alex the arm for free. Then they uploaded the designs to the web for anyone to use.

The goal was to change the lives of children and to change the world, Manero said. The students have helped several Florida children and have received requests for help from more than 25 countries. Despite being in Germany since July because of a Fullbright Scholarship, he connects daily with his team of growing friends at UCF to continue the good work.

Manero and two teammates, Dominique Courbin and John Sparkman, students in the College of Engineering, will demonstrate a 3-D arm and talk to the high schoolers and their families about the power and opportunity STEM knowledge provides to change the world. #UCFChangestheWorld #3DHope