Since he can remember, NCSU EcoCAR alumnus Ali Seyam has had an interest in the automotive industry. Other interests have come and gone through the years, but his passion for autos stuck.
When Seyam joined the Mechanical Engineering department at N.C. State University in 2005, he was one of many students interested in autos, but was on his way to becoming part of a small but distinguished group.
When the opportunity to join EcoCAR came along in 2008, Seyam was part of a small group of students huddled around a computer at D.H. Hill Library during Spring Break, feverishly finishing a proposal to get N.C. State into the competition.
The team worked on it through the last available minute, and it was a call to one of the group member’s cell phones during class that let them know they were in!
The three years of EcoCAR included Seyam’s transition from an undergraduate to a graduate student. Within the EcoCAR program, he held positions such as mechanical team lead and graduate student team lead, where he helped re-integrate the lithium ion battery system into a more compact and lighter package.
Seyam has many memories of EcoCAR, such as calling the team garage – the same place where he jumped into the thick blue suit to wire a high voltage battery pack together – his second home.
Syeam recalls memorable trips, such as the summer where his team saw their car compete in Yuma, Arizona and then gazed at low-flying jetliners in the sky aboard a cruise ship in San Diego, California.
Today, Seyam is a General Motors durability test engineer in Milford, Michigan.
“No doubt it is because of EcoCAR I am here today applying the skills I’ve learned. It’s a dream job on a career path I got to choose, where I get to drive prototype vehicles on test tracks for data that helps determine their longevity,” said Seyam. “To me, EcoCAR was not just an opportunity to boost my resume, but in some ways was transformational from within, and was a tall stepping stone to the future I now have. Someday I hope there will be dedicated EcoCAR 2 students that will also be able reflect back in similar ways,” he said.