Michael Sinanian

My name is and I am 4th year mechanical engineering student at the University of Notre Dame. Last summer I participated in a program that allowed me to do research for a summer at UCD. My Irish research experience was an incredible one and made for what was undoubtedly one of the best summers of my life. The educational, cultural, and natural immersion was unlike anything I could have ever expected. From 3D printing vascular stents in the lab, to making dozens of new friends and exploring pubs and restaurants, to hiking the numerous peaks overlooking the gorgeous Irish countryside, the variety of experiences that I had this summer was unmatched by any other. My participation in this program was truly an honor and a privilege that I wish all university students could have.
The topic of my research was the 3D printing of medical devices in UCD’s Medical Device Design group. My focus was to explore different ways to manufacture vascular stents with a 3D printer and a laser cutting machine. By varying the print settings through trial and error, and creating numerous samples for examination and performance testing, I helped to optimize the process for more effective manufacturing of these devices, while maintaining their necessary mechanical properties. The academic work environment was surprisingly relaxed, and my supervisors were helpful and encouraging, not demanding. It was an excellent glimpse into the realities of a research-based career and will surely inform my future career path.
Before visiting Ireland, I had been to London for 6 weeks to study abroad after my first year of university, but I didn’t have a chance to visit Ireland. This was on my bucket list, but I always believed I would have to wait until I completed my degree to do it. However, this opportunity has allowed me to check that item off the list early and experience it with more depth and meaning than I ever could have achieved from a simple vacation.
I have also always wondered what life would be like in academia. Being able to experience the research environment has informed my future career path and given me a unique, first hand insight into what life as a researcher would be like. During the summer of 2016, I worked in Michigan as an intern in the engineering industry, and while I can now appreciate the freedom and flexibility that the academic environment offers, I think I would be a better fit in industry immediately after graduation. This is an insight that I could only have gained from this experience, and I am very grateful for that. This summer has contributed to my personal growth in so many ways, and I can only say thank you to UCD and the University of Notre Dame for making this all possible!