Alumni

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

Michael Hendrix

Michael Hendrix - BSE, 2004

As a young kid from Detroit, MI, I was exposed to mechanical engineering at the University of Michigan through summer experiences in DAPCEP (Detroit Area Pre-College Engineering Program). Over several years I was exposed to the greatness of U of M and I knew it was where I wanted to pursue my engineering degree. As I matriculated throughout the school, I found two key things that made my experiences in mechanical engineering so amazing: the rigorous curriculum and mentorship. 

The curriculum taught me skills that have been beneficial to my career even to this day. Strong analytics, root cause analysis, structured problem solving, and systems integration are just a few competencies that helped me to accomplish things like launching new model products at Ford Motor Company or optimizing operations at Tech startups.

Ultimately, I wouldn't have progressed through my undergraduate years at U of M without the help from many students and staff. For example, during my freshman year I had a senior mentor, Jason Forton (BSE '00), who gave me the "blueprint" to navigating engineering life and the intricacies of mechanical engineering. Additionally, Dr. Noel Perkins provided me with guidance and personalized leadership which helped me to grow and gain a passion for engineering.

Today my leadership and experience are rooted in how the ME department pushed my intellectual limits and drove me to approach areas of my career with the same precision and rigor I developed at U of M. Therefore, I am thankful for the academic accomplishments and personal growth that U of M afforded me.

Michael is currently an eCommerce Operations Manager for Newell Brands.

Dan Hiemstra

Dan Hiemstra - BSE, 2015; MSE, 2016

The Mechanical Engineering Department has played an incredible role in shaping my passion and career as an engineer. Of the countless impactful experiences in my 5 years at Michigan, the most formative was my mechanical engineering senior capstone design project. As I headed into my senior year, I joined a group of 3 other students on a mission to build a giant, fully functional, human-solvable Rubik’s cube art piece to be installed on North Campus. The project drew inspiration from the Endover Cube on Central Campus, while adding an engineering twist.

This huge undertaking, spanning 6 semesters, served as an invaluable vessel for spurring my mechanical design interests, sharpening my engineering fundamentals, and perhaps most importantly, building long lasting relationships. One of the most humbling aspects of the project was the incredible resources that the department has available to help students realize their ambitions. From tireless mentorship from Professor Perkins and hundreds of hours spent in the machine shop with Kent Pruss, to generous funding from Dean Munson and the valuable guidance from numerous other faculty, for every road block we hit, the department helped find resources to overcome it.

The Rubik’s cube now lives on as a mechanical art piece housed in GG Brown. I hope it inspires upcoming Michigan engineers to dream big and utilize all the resources the department has to offer. My Michigan experience instilled in me a passion for engineering design and opened the door to my employment as a product design engineer at Apple. For that I am grateful, and I will proudly represent the University of Michigan wherever my career path takes me. Go Blue!

Caroline Bono

Caroline Bono - MSE, 1999; PhD, 2002

When I look back at how my graduate years at Michigan shaped the person I am today, two things stand out. I discovered a new way of approaching problems where math and theory are only tools to an end, and I remember a great sense of academic freedom. Even today, whenever I come to a block in the road, I still recall one of the favorite questions of my thesis advisor, Professor Perkins: "What do *you* want to try?" As for my most memorable experience, it has to be finding the drag coefficient of flyfishing flies for my numerical code. Instead of giving me the drag coefficient value, Professor Perkins simply handed me a box of flyfishing flies. So, I went to the EECS building with a friend and a stopwatch on a late Sunday night and dropped the flies from the top of the atrium to measure the data I needed. Not the data in the table I was expecting... From Michigan, I took with me many more data acquisition stories all involving flyfishing, memories of endless bike rides and the beauty of nature, the smell of apple cider in the fall, and a hand-y map of Michigan.

Alumni News & Newsletter

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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.