Stephen Wren, now a Nuclear Mechanical Engineer, was once an integral part of Mississippi State University’s Mechanical/Powertrain group on the school’s EcoCAR: The NeXt Challenge team. Before attending Mississippi State, Stephen began his career in the Navy as a nuclear machinist’s mate. He spent four years learning about and operating pressurized water reactors. After his time in the Navy, he decided to pursue his Mechanical Engineering degree at MSU. When he first enrolled, he knew that he wanted to be involved with EcoCAR; in fact, the completion was part of his motivation in choosing to move to Starkville, MS.
“I knew early on in my college career that I wanted to be involved in design of environmentally-conscious thermal/energy systems,” he said. After graduation and an extensive job search, Stephen decided to move to Virginia. “A few months after moving, I found a role at my current company, a utility/energy consulting company in Australia with an office in East Tennessee. By a stroke of luck… the offer and position were right in line with what I was hoping to find for a long-term career, and I accepted it and moved… again.”
When reflecting on how he got to where he is today, Stephen thinks the skills he developed with the MSU EcoCAR team are invaluable. Stephen began by simply attending the weekly meetings and helping where he could, then, as he advanced in his curriculum, he began taking on more technical and challenging roles. During his time with the team, he helped design and build the full scale driving simulator used in the Year One competition expo and machined the aluminum motor mounts used on the final vehicle. Along with these tasks came the real-world, hands-on experience that is so vital to the EcoCAR competition.
“I learned a number of skills that I have used in my positions since graduation that I never would have encountered in the classroom,” Stephen said. “Time management was one of the most valuable things I learned on the EcoCAR team.”
The MSU EcoCAR 2 team is proud to have Stephen as an alum and looks forward to seeing the great things he will continue to accomplish in the future.