Anne Sullivan

2015 A Natural Leader


Anne Sullivan could have completely given up when a back injury prohibited her from pursuing a career as a midshipman with the U.S. Navy. Instead, as a back surgery patient, she became fascinated with a new career: bioengineering.

Anne wants to develop technologies to help victims of spinal cord injuries live more fulfilled lives.

“I know there have been great advances made with exoskeleton research, but it is still in the infancy of its technology and is cost prohibitive,” said Anne, who has been inspired in her work by witnessing the struggles her paraplegic aunt has had to overcome.

“I hope to be involved with the design of devices that can be produced economically so that they may be more widely available to the millions of people suffering from spinal cord injuries.”

Anne has gained plenty of hands-on experience while attending UM-Dearborn. She has been an intern at Magna International’s Steyr-Car Top Systems division for two years and played a leadership role on her Senior Design team, which designed a microfluidic chip to disassociate a blood clot. In 2014, she was part of a group that received an honorable mention in the 8th Annual Ergonomics Design Competition for their ergonomic analysis of hairstylists and hotel room attendants.

Since the fall of 2013, Anne has served as a teaching assistant for Engineering 100, introducing freshman and sophomore engineering students to product design and other aspects of the engineering field.

Anne’s accomplishments aren’t limited to the classroom. She was a member of the University of Michigan Rifle Team from 2011-2014, where she helped the team win two national championships and was a three-time collegiate All-Star. Now, she’s using her skills to assist incoming shooters in improving their performances.

“The more I have gotten to know Anne, the more impressed I have become with her abilities and contributions,” said Ghassan Kridli, professor of industrial and manufacturing systems engineering. “Anne is a professional, mature and capable leader who serves as an excellent role model for freshman engineers.”