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In September 2023, Rackham Merit Fellow Anan Ghrayeb, a doctoral student in the U-M Mechanical Engineering department and a member of Professor Evgueni Filipov’s Deployable and Reconfigurable Structures Lab, won first place at the College of Engineering’s inaugural three minute thesis (3MT®) competition. Ghrayeb’s research uses microscopic origami-inspired robots that can fold, unfold, and move to address critical challenges such as the spread of cancer throughout the body.

Developed by the University of Queensland, 3MT® competitions provide doctoral students with an opportunity to speak about their thesis work to general audiences. Sponsored by Michigan Engineering’s Office of the Associate Dean for Graduate & Professional Education, the competition was brought to campus after faculty from the Department of Mechanical Engineering partnered with a team of Rackham experts through the Advancing New Directions in Graduate Education initiative.

Reflecting on the importance of the competition, Ghrayeb says, “Making complex ideas understandable to general audiences helps bridge the gap between academia and the public, and makes the fruits of research a shared part of society’s collective knowledge. More importantly, I believe that tailored technical communication has the power to inspire the future generations of engineers and problem-solvers, which is a way of paying it forward.”

Learn more about the College of Engineering’s 3MT® competition and about the Department of Mechanical Engineering’s work with Advancing New Directions.