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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!

Kelsey Hockstad

Kelsey Hockstad - BSE, 2015; MSE, 2016

When I first came on campus, spirit full of optimism, I expected great things from the University of Michigan. By my first week as a Michigan engineering student, I had heard about the time-consuming, challenging, and stressful senior design project, and I was intimidated to say the least. Fast forward three years, and I was standing in the brand new BorgWarner Galleria, scanning through the list of projects, one of which would soon consume my life for the semester. One project title immediately grabbed my attention. It read, “Giant Rubik’s Cube.” Several months earlier, two of my classmates had imagined this engineering twist on the Cube by the Union on central campus—a giant, human solvable, fully functional Rubik’s cube sculpture for north campus. That day in G. G. Brown, I decided to join the project to create the giant Rubik’s cube. None of us had any clue how challenging this project would be.

Senior design was over after one semester, but the Rubik’s cube project was not finished yet, so the four of us continued our work, overhauling the design twice over the next year and a half. We faced long hours of computer modeling, manufacturing components, and assembling cubelets (our word for the 26 small cubes that comprise a Rubik’s cube), and at times we weren’t sure our mechanical art piece would ever become reality. Those moments of doubt might have halted our project permanently without the support of the department, the Dean, and our encouraging and incredible mentor, Professor Noel Perkins, who never stopped believing in us. We were lucky to have him, as we were lucky in so many other ways. Chance brought the four of us together when we selected our senior design group, but hard work and outstanding mentorship transformed us into a great team that could accomplish what I had thought might not be possible. My teammates are all talented, bright, and innovative, and together we were greater than the sum of our parts. We had everything: a safe and inspiring space to share and create, an ongoing stream-of-consciousness line of communication, and humor to keep us sane when our endless hours of work threatened to drain our motivation.

One year after the four of us had graduated and three more students had joined the team, we unveiled the finally finished giant Rubik’s cube, a permanent fixture in the mechanical engineering building. Showing our project to the world was surreal, as we remembered how far we had come since we started. We solved the cube for the first time, then watched as the Dean, fellow students, and some of our favorite professors scrambled it again. As we had hoped from the beginning, this Rubik’s cube brought people together, its scale requiring cooperation as opposed to the original puzzle, which is usually meant for one person to solve alone. Our cube is meant to inspire teamwork, to show that some problems are better solved together. For me, the giant Rubik’s cube represents great teamwork and indispensable leadership, the paragon to which I will compare all future teams. I am forever grateful that I had the opportunity to participate in this project, with these incredible people.

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.

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Gifts & Accolades

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.

Kimberly HammondsHammonds Honored with 2018 U-M ME Alumni Merit Award

Mechanical Engineering alumna Kimberly Hammonds has been selected to receive the 2018 University of Michigan (U-M) Mechanical Engineering (ME) Alumni Merit Award. Hammonds (BSEME, 90’) most recently served as the Group Chief Operating Officer of Deutsche Bank, where she was the third female in its history to serve on the Management Board of the 148-year-old company. She was named one of the top 10 Digital Leaders in Germany. Throughout her career Hammonds has worked in four different industries; automotive, technology, aerospace and defense, and, most recently, financial services. She served as the Group Chief Information Officer for the Boeing Company, and was the first female CIO in the company’s history. She also held executive positions at Dell Corporation and Ford Motor Company. Her global leadership experience extends across product engineering, manufacturing, supply chain, marketing, purchasing, operations and information technology.

Hammonds is a member of the Society of Women Engineers, serves on the Board of Directors of Redhat, Cloudera and Tenable, and is the founder and president of the Zoe Foundation, which provides art programs from cancer patients. She has actively supported the American Cancer Society, raising more than $5 million for the organization. She was recognized by Crain’s Business as one of the ‘Women to Watch’ in 2011.

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.

Yudong ChenYudong Chen (MSE ME, PhD '91) - 2017 Alumni Merit Award

Mechanical Engineering alumnus Yudong Chen has been selected to receive the 2017 U-M ME Alumni Merit Award. Chen (MSE ME, PhD '91) is currently president of Bosch (China) Investment Ltd. He has served as US-NSF-STA Research Fellow at the Japan Science and Technology Agency, where he served as a consultant for Japanese researchers and industries on concurrent manufacturing systems, and on FMS for the automotive industry. Chen joined the Bosch Group Gasoline Engine Department as the Senior Vice President responsible for business development in China.

Chen was Executive Vice President in charge of Original Equipment Sales for Bosch (China) Investment Ltd. from 2008 to 2010. In 2011, he went on to serve as the President of Bosch (China) Investment Ltd., a role he remains in today. 


See previous alumni merit award recipients.

Marshall Jones Laser pioneer Marshall Jones (BSE ME ‘65) joins the Inventors Hall of Fame

Marshall Jones was inducted May 4th, 2017, into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in Washington DC for his pioneering work with industrial lasers.

There are only 547 members of the Hall -- only about 100 of whom are still living -- out of an estimated 2 million engineers working in America today.

Since 1974, Jones has worked for GE Global Research, where he currently serves as principal engineer in Manufacturing & Materials Technologies.


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.