Student Enrichment and Education

One of the main missions of Advanced Vehicle Technology Competitions is to continue student enrichment and education through innovation and research. While students receive hands-on, real-world experience in the automotive industry, they also have the opportunity to continue their education through funded and award-based programs. Faculty advisors also have the opportunity to receive funding and award-based recognition for their academic teachings and mentorship to teams.

Here are some examples of how AVTCs continue student enrichment and education.

Graduate Research Assistantships

The AVTC program, in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Energy, provides current AVTC universities funding for a Graduate Research Assistant (GRA). Each year, the GRA students work on a variety of academic projects to further their education of advanced automotive technologies. The GRA program allows universities to continue cutting-edge research in hybrid technology, as well as allow students the opportunity to develop leadership experience that is crucial for educational development. Past GRA projects have included research on modeling and simulation tools and strategies, creating control algorithms for hybrid electric vehicles, emissions and energy consumption data analysis, mechanical and electrical subsystem development, and interfacing with on-board diagnostic software and touchscreen capabilities.

U.S. Department of Energy

In 2009, the U.S. Department of Energy Clean Cities program formed a long-standing partnership with AVTCs when they began an assistantship program for communication students. The mutual partnership would help build public awareness of advanced vehicle technologies, encourage others to adopt practices to reduce petroleum consumption, and allow AVTC universities to collaborate with Clean Cities Coalitions and its stakeholders. The assistantship program expanded to include business students in 2012

National Science Foundation Outstanding Faculty Awards

NSFIn 1997, AVTCs began an annual award to recognize the passion and mentorship of the program’s faculty advisors. Sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the ‘Best Outstanding Long-Term Faculty Advisor Award’ is presented ever year to the faculty advisor(s) who best promote the goals, objectives, and activities related to AVTCs at their universities. In 2005, NSF introduced the ‘Best Incoming Faculty Advisor Award’ to support new advisors in the program. Below are the past winners:

  • 1997: Dr. Andy Frank, University of California-Davis
  • 1998: Dr. Doug Nelson, Virginia Tech
  • 1999: Unknown
  • 2000: Dr. Glenn Bower, University of Wisconsin
  • 2001: Dr. Jeff Hodgson, University of Tennessee
  • 2002: Dr. John Beard, Michigan Tech University
  • 2003: Dr. David Holloway, University of Maryland
  • 2004: Dr. Dan Haworth, Pennsylvania State University
  • 2005: Dr. Doug Nelson, Virginia Tech (Long-Term) and Dr. Christi Patton Luks, University of Tulsa (Incoming)
  • 2006: Dr. Glenn Bower, University of Wisconsin (Long-Term) and Dr. Zac Chambers and Dr. Marc Herniter, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology (Incoming)
  • 2007: Dr. Giorgio Rizzoni, Ohio State University (Long-Term) and Dr. Marshall Molen, Mississippi State University (Incoming)
  • 2008: Dr. Tim Maxwell, Texas Tech University (Long-Term) and Gary Neal, Pennsylvania State University
  • 2009: Doug Nelson, Virginia Tech (Long-Term) and Dr. Darris White, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (Incoming)
  • 2010: Dr. Roydon Fraser, University of Waterloo (Long-Term) and Dr. Zuomin Dong and Dr. Curran Crawford, University of Victoria (Incoming)
  • 2011: Dr. Marshall Molen, Mississippi State University (Long-Term) and Dr. Shawn Midlam-Mohler, Ohio State University (Incoming)
  • 2012: Gary Neal, Pennsylvania State University (Long-Term) and Dr. Brian Fabien, University of Washington (Incoming)
  • 2013: Dr. Doug Nelson, Virginia Tech (Long-Term) and Thomas Bradley, Colorado State University (Incoming)
  • 2014: Dr. Roydon Fraser of the University of Waterloo (Long-Term) and Patrick Currier of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (Incoming)
  • 2015: Dr. Andrew Nix of West Virginia University
  • 2016: Dr. Paul Puzinauskas of the University of Alabama
  • 2017: Dr. David Irick of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville
  • 2018: Dr. Shawn Midlam-Mohler of Ohio State University

In addition, the Governor’s Ethanol Coalition sponsored an Outstanding Faculty Award during Ethanol Vehicle Challenge. The winners include:

  • 1999: Dr. Ryan Wicker, University of Texas at El Paso and Chuck Allport, Cedarville College
  • 2000: Dr. William Weins and Dr. Alexander Peters, University of Nebraska, Lincoln

Model-Based Design Curriculum Project

MBDCP-LOGOIn 2013, AVTCs launched a new Model-Based Design Curriculum Project that focused on self-paced, online learning modules that teach engineering students and entry-level engineers the basics of model-based design, how to build vehicle component simulation models, and fundamentals of hybrid system control and fault diagnosis. Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, National Science Foundation, and MathWorks, the ‘Model-Based Design for Vehicle Powertrains’ course focuses on basic component modeling/energy flow, battery energy storage systems, and series hybrid supervisory control, as well as IC engines, transmissions, electric machines/power electronics, and parallel hybrid supervisory control. To learn more about the Model-Based Design Curriculum Project, visit

Applied Automotive Engineering Curriculum Project

Auto 101 logoThis new initiative, also referred to as Auto 101, allows AVTC faculty advisors the chance to develop self-paced, slide-based learning modules which are focused on practical automotive engineering topics. Upon completion, this material will be offered to current and future AVTC students to help ease the enormous learning curve they face when joining an EcoCAR team. Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, the faculty advisors will receive the distinguished title of DOE Applied Automotive Engineering Fellow. The program will launch in Fall 2014. For more information, visit the Green Garage Blog announcement.