This article originally appeared in the Summer 2023 Dana Hall Bulletin.
Claudine Humure ’13 has a story to tell. As a young child, she was orphaned by the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda. At age 12, she lost her right leg from just above the knee due to cancer. But instead of crumbling amidst the adversity, Humure uses her background to propel herself forward, bringing hope and healing to fellow amputees.
In April, Humure was honored with the Distinguished Young Alumna Award at Reunion Weekend. She was nominated because “she embodies resilience and perseverance in all that she does,” said classmate Emma Milford ’13. Humure has used her talents and passion to research, create and develop cost-effective prosthetic limbs — specifically for people living in developing countries.
“The first time I knew that I wanted to work in the field of prosthetics and orthotics was during my Senior Project at Dana Hall,” said Humure. “I spent two weeks at Next Step Bionics and Prosthetics, and shadowed one of their certified prosthetists. Watching the lab work they had to do to assemble all the prosthetic devices for their patients is what opened my eyes and desire to pursue a career in this profession.”
Humure graduated in June with a master’s degree in Prosthetics & Orthotics from the University of Washington in Seattle. In the summer of 2015, she worked at the MIT Media Lab where she initiated the design of an adjustable prosthetic socket using Autodesk Fusion 360, 123D Catch and Meshmixer. That fall, she took a class at the MIT D-Lab called Prosthetics for the Developing World. In 2016, she worked with Autodesk to further develop the socket by doing more research and making more prototypes.
She has also worked at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston and with Boston Medical Center pediatrics as a Health Leads Advocate, where she represented refugees and youth from low-income families who lacked the means to primary health care. Humure talked about the importance of working with these groups because “I understand how what seems like the smallest acts of kindness can be life-changing to someone who has lost all hope,” she said.
In Rwanda, Humure worked at the University of Global Health Equity as a partnership coordinator where she served as the in-country host for the university’s donors, partners, members of the media, and other guests. As a member of the Rwanda Society for Prosthetists & Orthotists, Humure has organized several projects to advocate for and support amputees and the wider disability community there. Her most recent project was the “Transforming Amputation and Prosthetic Services Globally” Virtual Conference, which she organized and executed in December 2020.
She also finds time to give back to Dana Hall. In 2021, Humure spoke to Upper School Social Studies teacher Heather Panahi’s Comparative Politics class as part of the STANDUP Speaker Series, which highlights people who are advocating for positive change to make our neighborhoods, state and world more inclusive, safe and equitable.
As she begins to transition from her graduate studies to the working world, Humure is committed to learning more about how to use digital design and 3-D printing to improve prosthetic limbs and make them available to individuals in developing countries. Starting in September, she will join the Sierra Leone Orthotics & Prosthetics Program through MIT’s K. Lisa Yang Center for Bionics, and in partnership with the Sierra Leone Ministry of Health, in hopes of caring for and supporting people with disabilities.
“I am grateful for this incredible award and recognition from Dana Hall,” Humure said. “The lessons I received from my time at Dana have been integral to my growth. I felt like I was ready to tackle any challenges in the world after my high school graduation. I don’t think a lot of high school graduates would be able to say that.”
Do you know an alumna who has inspired others by her passion and commitment, and who is a good role model for Dana students today? We encourage you to think about a classmate who has made a difference and nominate her for an award.