Alumni

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Alumni share how U-M ME shaped their careers and lives. Read more stories

Michael Jocz

Michael Jocz - BSE, 2016; MSE, 2017

I was raised in a family of University of Michigan graduates. When I enrolled in the Mechanical Engineering department in the fall of 2012, I joined my sister as a 5th generation Wolverine and the 4th consecutive generation in the College of Engineering. I grew up with the full appreciation of the significant challenges that I would face as a Michigan student and that it would be through these challenges, both those in which I succeeded or failed, that would prepare me for life.

In addition to the academic challenges, Coach Brady Hoke offered me a position on the Michigan’s football team....a top 20 program. It was definitely a challenge being a student athlete at a top academic university and playing on a top 20 football program. As extremely difficult as this was for 5 years, there was no place else I'd rather have been

In both the classroom and football field, I was blessed to be taught by some of the top educators in the world and surrounded by the top students – both pushing me to realize and develop my potential and to ready me for life after college.

The University of Michigan Mechanical Engineering Department allowed me to combine my passions for engineering and athletics by contributing to research on a football helmet design for concussion prevention. Working as a Research Assistant under Professors Ellen Arruda and Michael Thouless, I fabricated mechanical testing equipment capable of applying an array of impact accelerations for various helmet design configurations, and tested impact absorbing properties of different helmet foams affording me the unique opportunity to give back to the game that has been a huge part of my life and make the sport safer. I have seen the harmful effects of concussions through the experiences of my friends and teammates and hopefully this research will help future generations of players.

After graduating in May 2017, I accepted an engineering position at Rivian Automotive, an electric vehicle startup company in Livonia, MI. The prestigious education that I received at Michigan went far beyond the classroom or football field – it was an education in how to solve engineering and life problems under the most challenging environment.

Go Blue!

Ashwin Salvi

Ashwin Salvi - MSE, 2009; PhD, 2013

The Mechanical Engineering department is one of the more unique departments at the University of Michigan, where students and faculty work in extremely broad disciplines – anywhere from injury prevention in biomechanics to thermal efficiency and emissions in combustion to systems optimization and operation in controls and many more. The interfacing between researchers in various groups brought a systems level approach to individual efforts where each group contributed their strengths but the entire collaboration learned as a whole. This is best exemplified by the Internet Distributed Hardware in the Loop experiments that connected over the internet a driver in a six-axis ride motion simulator located 50 miles away to a real internal combustion engine consuming fuel and producing emissions in the Michigan Auto Lab – that was the first time somebody actually “drove” that engine! This project utilized the efforts from the controls, optimization, biomechanics, dynamics, computation, combustion, and emissions groups in order to reduce vehicle fuel consumption and emissions while preserving human health.

The comradery between researchers in various groups and my desire to expand education beyond the laboratory defined my experience at Michigan, and motivated me and a couple of other Mechanical Engineers to found the Michigan Energy Club – where we discussed topics ranging from electricity markets to nuclear power. The research, education, and freedom offered in the ME department instilled confidence in my ability to understand technologies outside of my research area and ultimately led me to an interdisciplinary and multifunctional career path in energy. I went on to be a Fellow at the Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) at the U.S. Department of Energy, where I worked on high risk, high reward energy technologies, and am now currently Director of Application Engineering at an advanced energy technology startup company, Achates Power.

Samuelina Wright

Samuelina Wright - BSE, 2015

Less than 48 hours before a one-way flight to begin my new career in Seattle, there was a lone light on in a GG Brown lab. Many late nights have been spent in that building — exam cramming, robot trouble-shooting, presentation rehearsing. This night was different. Four friends were huddled around a mechanical contraption, etching our names into a thick aluminum slab that would later become part of a giant Rubik’s Cube to be installed just down the hall.

As a freshman, I would not have believed that four years later I’d be etching my name in something so big to leave behind in my hometown, on my hoMe campus. I would not have believed I’d have the opportunity to take an idea and run with it alongside three friends, being cheered on by family, friends, the College of Engineering, and an unbelievable mentor. Sometimes it’s still hard for me to believe, but what I do believe is that the project would not have been the same rewarding, challenging, or successful learning experience at any other university. The people and resources in the Mechanical Engineering Department fueled the creativity of a project that ultimately shaped my undergrad experience and gave me the space to explore a growing passion — the intersection of engineering and artistic design.

Alumni News & Newsletter

Do you have an alumni news item for publication on our website or in our Annual Report? Send your news items to me-www@umich.edu.

Gifts & Accolades

Marshall JonesJones Honored with 2019 U-M ME Alumni Merit Award

Marshall Jones is a recipient of the University of Michigan’s (U-M) 2019 Mechanical Engineering (ME) Alumni Merit Award. Jones, who was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2017, has enjoyed an impressive career filled with countless achievements and honors. He currently holds over 50 U.S. patents and 57 foreign patents, is a member of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), and had an accomplished 44-year career at GE Global Research in laser technology. In 1982 he initiated research that resulted in a laser beam powerful enough to cut steel, titanium, and nickel-based alloys, and able to weld and drill them at multiple angles. Jones earned his BSE from U-M ME in 1965 and went on to earn his master’s and PhD from the University of Massachusetts. Jones spoke fondly of his time at U-M ME when asked to reflect on it in recognition of the Department’s 150th anniversary in 2018.

“Within ME, I truly loved design, as well as the mechanics and materials of all lab work. U-M ME’s design training led to my first job in high energy physics at Brookhaven National Labs and that same training provided a great foundation for my grad studies at UMass, opening the door to my 44-year career at GE Global Research in laser technology.”

See previous alumni merit award recipients.

 

Katherine VozarVozar Honored with 2018 Michigan Engineering Outstanding Recent Alumni Award

Mechanical Engineering alumna Katherine Avery Vozar has been selected to receive the 2018 University of Michigan Engineering Outstanding Recent Alumni Award. Vozar (MSE 11’, PhD, 16’) is currently a Technology Integration Lead at Ford Motor Company, where her work is dedicated to integration emerging technology into forward model year vehicles, and accelerating systems-based, cross-functional development and implementation of relevant technologies sourced from multiple industries. Vozar also brought her unique vision and experience to assist as a Corporate-Partner-in-Residence at Techstars Mobility, a Detroit-based startup accelerator focused on funding companies with a novel approach to transportation, including (but not limited to) autonomous, connected, shared and electric vehicles.

Vozar has written more than 20 peer-reviewed articles and holds multiple patents, has co- advised doctoral students with faculty from around the world and has provided technical and project leadership on multiple government-funded multi-institution research collaborations. Giving back to her community is another passion of Vozar’s. As an alum, she became a member of the Michigan Engineering Alumni Board and a founding member of the Advisory Board for the Michigan Engineering Zone in Detroit, an innovation space where Detroit students acquire the knowledge and tools they need to propel themselves to higher education and careers in STEM. She also co-founded The Trending Up Foundation, which endeavors to raise awareness and accessibility of STEM careers for K-12 students from historically excluded groups through hands-on workshops, classes and scholarship opportunities.

Peter K. Schoenfeld Scholarship Fund endowed

Franziska I. Schoenfeld (AB ’53, DDS ’55) has made a gift to endow the Peter K. Schoenfeld Scholarship Fund. Established in honor of her son, Michigan Engineering alumnus Peter K. Schoenfeld (BSE ME ’98), the fund will provide need-based scholarship support to undergraduate students in the Department of Mechanical Engineering who are residents of the state of Michigan. Preference will be given to transfer students, either from other academic units within the University or from outside the University, and students who are United States citizens or permanent residents of the U.S.

After graduating with her DDS in 1955, Dr. Schoenfeld owned and operated a general dentistry practice for 30 years, retiring in 1985. After her retirement, she served as a dental editor for the Michigan Dental Association Journal, authoring and editing dental articles and dentist profiles.

Ken SnodgrassKen Snodgrass (BSME ‘69, MSE ‘71) - 2014 Distinguished Alumni Service Award

ME Alum Ken Snodgrass (BSME ‘69 and MSE ‘71) Receives 2014 Distinguished Alumni Service Award

Ken Snodgrass is a mechanical engineer, automotive professional, and co-founder of the Michigan Engineering Zone (MEZ) in Detroit. After graduating from the University of Michigan College of Engineering (BSME ‘69 and MSE ‘71), Ken accepted a position in Light Truck Engineering at Ford Motor Company where he would work for 30 years in a wide variety of management positions in product development including international assignments and joint programs with various Asian and European auto manufacturers.

 

Theodore T. Tanase (BSE ME ‘63) and Priscilla B. TanaseTanase Scholarship Fund

Theodore T. Tanase (BSE ME ‘63) and Priscilla B. Tanase of Seattle, Washington, with a $100,000 gift, have endowed the Theodore and Priscilla Tanase Scholarship Fund to provide need-based support to full-time undergraduates at the College of Engineering. They desire that first preference be given to students from the State of Hawaii, followed by the State of Washington. Ted is the founder of Ensocare, which provides web-based care coordination solutions to help manage patient care transitions, reduce length of stay and reduce readmissions. Priscilla enjoyed an early career in the fitness industry, and more recently as a family therapist.

 

Sheri SheppardSheri Sheppard (PhD ‘85) - 2014 U.S. Professor of the Year

Sheppard is a Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Stanford University.

The U.S. Professors of the Year program salutes the most outstanding undergraduate instructors in the country—those who excel in teaching and positively influence the lives and careers of students. Sponsored by CASE and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, it is the only national program to recognize excellence in undergraduate teaching and mentoring.

In her role at Stanford, Sheppard teaches a wide range of undergraduate and graduate mechanics courses, courses on teaching and workshops on professional development. She also advises new lecturers and tenure-line faculty on their course design, serving as a faculty sponsor on several of those courses.

 

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Alumni generosity is vital to Department of Mechanical Engineering's success and excellence. Donations to ME help support undergraduate and graduate financial aid, building and renovation projects, and the ME Endowment Fund. Giving is easy with our online giving form.