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Women in Automotive Engineering program provides opportunity for students


September 7, 2019


HOUGHTON — Summertime camps are a popular way to keep students busy when off school.

Eliza Stone, a senior at Bessemer High School, attended one of the camps offered by Michigan Technological University this past summer and remembers it fondly.

Stone attended the Women in Automotive Engineering program at Michigan Tech, which focuses on introducing young women to the fields of electrical and mechanical engineering within the automotive industry. The program is competitive entry, and this year there were 13 students attending.

“It was nice to see people with similar interests in math and science get together to learn,” Stone said. The participants were from various locations across the United States, with some attending from as far away as Washington state. “I made so many more friends this time around.”

The competitive scholarship program was not the first that Stone had attended at the university. “Two years ago I attended their Women in Engineering program. I wanted to attend this program last year, but they didn’t have enough applicants to hold it.” She plans to study engineering in college, “I’m getting a head start wherever possible, and am dual-enrolled in calculus and physics.”

The girls that attended lived in Wadsworth Hall, one of the student dormitory buildings, for the duration of their stay. “There were other camps going on at the time as well, and a lot of them stayed in the building too.” Stone explained.

This year the program had a focus on electric and hybrid vehicles, with the students in attendance learning about the various mechanisms that helped keep vehicles running. The students would take one of the campus shuttles up to the Advanced Power Systems Laboratories (APS Labs) for their daily lessons during the day, and return to the main campus for other activities in the evening.

When asked about what she found most interesting Stone had this to say. “I really liked getting to look at the different cars and learning about their various parts.”

One of the activities the group participated in was testing cruise distances in a variety of vehicles. “We all wrote down how far we thought the vehicle would cruise after being shifted to neutral, and were surprised to see that they traveled much farther than expected.” Stone said. The vehicles in question included a Chevy Tahoe and a Ford F150, among other, smaller models.

The group held discussions about vehicular ethics, especially regarding autonomous vehicles. “We talked about the trust issue that lies in autonomous vehicles, given that there isn’t a human in control.”

Stone enthusiastically recommended the program to all young women interested in pursuing engineering. “I would highly, highly recommend this one and the Women in Engineering program. They were amazing. There is also a general engineering program that accepts boys as well as girls.”


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