Engineering professor Dukhan selected for second Fulbright award

May 23, 2018

Professor of Mechanical Engineering Nihad Dukhan.Being selected for a Fulbright is often a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. But for Detroit Mercy Professor of Mechanical Engineering Nihad Dukhan, it’s now a twice-in-a-lifetime experience. Dukhan, who was a Fulbright Scholar during the 2014-15 school year, was recently selected as a Fulbright Specialist this summer at Yildiz Technical University in Istanbul.

The Fulbright Program, which is sponsored by the U.S. government, aims to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.

Since its inception in 1946, Fulbright alumni have become heads of state, judges, ambassadors, cabinet ministers, CEOs and university presidents. Among the more than 370,000 “Fulbrighters” are 57 Nobel Laureates, 82 Pulitzer Prize winners, 70 MacArthur Fellows and 16 Presidential Medal of Freedom recipients.

“Having a Detroit Mercy faculty member named a Fulbright Specialist helps increase the impact of their research and teaching, and also raises the profile of the University internationally,” said Cate Caldwell, Detroit Mercy Fulbright Scholar liaison and director of Sponsored Programs.

Dukhan was a Fulbright Scholar at Istanbul Technical University for the 2014-15 school year and enjoyed his time working in Turkey.

He’s excited for the opportunity to go back to Turkey and takes great pride in representing both the U.S. and Detroit Mercy on an international level.

“When the Fulbright program was established, the main purpose was to use scientific exchanges as a way to cultivate cultural understanding and friendships between the U.S. and other nations. That side is very important,” Dukhan said. “A Fulbrighter is almost a U.S. diplomat, representing the U.S. in a foreign country. A Fulbright award has that prestige attached to it.

“Detroit Mercy also benefits from the prestige of a Fulbright. It’s a big deal to have the name of the University accompanying Fulbright. The award is really competitive; an application goes through layers of reviews by experts before it is selected.”

Dukhan, who has taught at Detroit Mercy for 11 years, is an internationally recognized expert on metal foam and will introduce the technology in several projects while at Yildiz Technical.

“It is an exotic material because of its structure, lightweight and huge, compact and yet accessible surface area,” Dukhan said of metal foam. “Due to its salient properties, this material can be used in a large variety of applications, such as structural elements, transfer media, lightweight components for aerospace applications, filters, implants, bone replacements etc. It has a very wide range of applications.”

While at Yildiz Technical, Dukhan hopes to conduct several research projects using metal foam over the four-week summer placement. And part of Dukhan’s proposal is to lend his expertise to Yildiz Technical on publishing research findings.

“I want to provide expertise as to how you plan research and start research and conduct research,” Dukhan said. “And, just as importantly, document the results, archive it and publish it. From my previous experience, I found out that in Turkey they do many of these things very well, but sometimes they stop short of publishing research findings. In my opinion, the crowning achievement is to publish the work or nobody will know about it. So I proposed to try to remedy this area by working on projects from scratch and seeing them to conclusion, including archival publications.”

Dukhan also hopes to learn from Ylidiz Technical, much like he did at Istanbul Technical University during his first Fulbright.

“I gain an international perspective when I travel abroad and work with people from a different culture and a different academic tradition as well,” Dukhan said. “They don’t do things like we do here.

“I bring a lot of that back to my interactions with my students here at Detroit Mercy. That helps when I teach students who don’t have English as their first language. In Turkey, I had to alter my discourse. I bring all of that international experience back with me and it shows in my classroom and my research lab.”

Dukhan wants to build a strong relationship between Detroit Mercy and Yildiz Technical. He envisions the two institutions exchanging students and faculty, and conducting joint research projects together.

“We are hoping that my visit will be a seed to a larger relationship between the two institutions,” Dukhan said. “Turkey is one of the fastest growing economies in the world. The country has a very unique position geographically and historically. With technological advancement and economic advancement, Turkey is emerging as a very important country. Any relationship with Turkey in this period is very critical and can lead to some valuable outcomes.”

For more information about the Fulbright Scholar program, please visit

Detroit Mercy students, faculty or staff interested in applying for a Fulbright award can also contact Cate Caldwell at 313-993-1544 and or Lara Wasner at and 313-993-1191. For more information about Detroit Mercy’s support for Fulbright applicants and for testimonials from Detroit Mercy Fulbright scholars, please visit

— By Dave Pemberton. Follow Detroit Mercy on FacebookTwitter and Instagram. Have a story idea? Let us know by submitting your idea.

Professor of Mechanical Engineering Nihad Dukhan holds up a piece of metal foam in his lab.