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

Christopher Coyne

Christopher Coyne - BSE, 2015

I'm grateful in many ways for my experience in Michigan's Mechanical Engineering Department, but two opportunities stand out amongst the rest for me. Firstly, I found incredible mentorship, specifically through Professor Allen Liu. In working in Professor Liu's lab, I had the opportunity to explore fields that I'd never before had the chance to even experience, learn about subjects that had for long piqued my interest, and work on challenges that I'd always imagined shaping the course of my career. My experience as an undergraduate research assistant opened my eyes to the impact that a great team of incredible minds could have on the world, and I instantly knew what a fantastic opportunity I had before me in joining such a team. A few short years later, I had earned a summer fellowship in bottom-up synthetic biology, co-authored a publication on microfluidics, and - most importantly - found a new family.

The second opportunity that quickly comes to mind is the series of project-based Design & Manufacturing courses, ME 250 through ME 450. Not only did these classes strengthen my practical understanding of applied engineering, but their underpinning of innovation strategies, problem-solving techniques, and team-based success changed the way that I tackle real-world challenges in my job every single day. No matter where my career may take me or what life has in store, I'm grateful for the confidence that I'm privileged to carry knowing that I'm a Michigan engineer.

David Moore

David Moore - BSE, 2014; MSE, 2015

It was always my dream to attend the University of Michigan but I never could have imagined the profound impact that it would have on my life. I began my studies as a student interested in learning about the engineering field and left as a problem solver who is more curious than ever. The Mechanical Engineering Department and College of Engineering as a whole became my learning lab with new ideas and theories bouncing around every day. I loved walking through GG Brown and seeing all the student and professor projects come to life from ideas to prototypes. I found my passion in product design and was given more opportunities than I could have ever imagined to better my skills.

What I think is most unique about this community of professors and students is that they didn’t just encourage me to pursue my passions but also pushed me to expand my horizons. While at Michigan, I was fortunate enough to compete on the swim team. While most outsiders discouraged me from trying to do both engineering and swimming, the ME department and CoE said I should go for more. I was pushed to new heights and the Michigan Difference was obvious. At the end of four years, I not only had more than a degree worth of knowledge that I was excited to use, but I also learned the values of teamwork and leadership with the swim team winning four Big Ten Championships and the NCAA Championship. The Engineering Global Leadership Honors Program supplemented my curriculum with business and global perspectives, and my master's program gave me the time to dive a bit deeper into design as well as teach my favorite class (ME250) and inspire future design engineers.

But Michigan kept pushing me. I was still curious to learn more so I applied for the Rhodes Scholarship and was honored to receive it and study for two years at Oxford University in the UK. This experience wouldn’t have been possible without the opportunities, experiences, and support I received from the University of Michigan. I was able to explore new topics in environmental science and business while focussing on energy and technology applications from a social perspective. This experience supplements my engineering background and I am loving applying these skills in my current job as a product design engineer at Google.

Michigan has taught me that if no one doubts your goals, they aren’t set high enough. Luckily, in Ann Arbor, you have to set your goals pretty high to follow this and that is what makes us the Leaders and Best.

Gabrielle Vuylsteke

Gabrielle Vuylsteke - BSE, 2017; MSE, 2018

Someone once advised me that while focusing on weaknesses can allow you to do more things passably, growing strengths gives you the chance to be exceptional. Michigan's Mechanical Engineering department has given me the opportunity to focus my education and develop particular strengths. Engineering school focuses on how math can be used to understand science and the world at large. This understanding can then be used to problem solve, design, and provide a new perspective when collaborating with other disciplines. Through the University of Michigan’s Mechanical Engineering program, I’ve been able to identify which areas of engineering interest me and delve into learning more about those areas through energy-system controls research in the Electrical Engineering department, internships with Ford and DTE Energy, sustainable and human-centered student-team design work through BLUElab: Woven Wind, and upper-level tech classes that interest me. During undergraduate, I grew as a leader, my perseverance and resourcefulness in the face of challenges increased, and I strengthened in my conviction that asking questions is the best way to learn.

I've enjoyed spending a year pursuing a Master's Degree in Mechanical Engineering through the SUGS program. Gaining knowledge of theoretical controls and other engineering skills will be a huge advantage that I’ll be able to apply as soon as I start work in the "real world." Pursuing a master’s degree in engineering has deepened my technical knowledge, increased my understanding of the intersection between engineering and other disciplines, and opened up opportunities for me to have a larger-scale impact.

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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.


Support your department

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.