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A Robotics Engineer with a Passion Project

As an engineer and a researcher working on modular robots at the University of Pennsylvania, “I am helping develop a novel, low-cost, high weight-to-strength ratio and high-extension arm,” reports Thulani Tsabedze (Swaziland, Waterford Kamhlaba UWC, Penn ’14).

He is also applying his expertise to a more personal project.“When I am not doing robotics research, in my spare time,” he writes, “I am looking into applying robotics principles in providing accessible cervical cancer screening.” Cervical cancer is the disease that took his mother’s life.

Thulani grew up as one of 17 siblings in Swaziland. “My parents did everything they could, but they could never have afforded to send me to college,” he recalls. UWC and his Davis UWC scholarship, he says, “opened doors of opportunity that I could never have imagined, and I am inspired to give back to others because of all that I have been given.”

After graduating from Penn, Thulani earned his master’s degree in the university’s graduate program in mechanical engineering. He became involved with a group of medical students working to develop the cervical cancer screening device. “We are in the process of getting all the necessary documentation to start doing clinical trials,” he reports. “We have completed manufacturing a polished prototype for this purpose.”