When we last talked to FutureTruck alumnus Shawn Midlam-Mohler, he was working as a research engineer at Ohio State University’s Center for Automotive Research. Shawn got his start in Advanced Vehicle Technology Competitions (AVTCs) while pursuing his Master of Science at The Ohio State University in 1999. During that time, he quickly got involved as a team member of the FutureTruck team working on the Chevrolet Suburban. Shawn always felt that the time spent working on FutureTruck was one of the most valuable parts of his education; therefore, fostering this type of learning with new students was a natural fit for Shawn. He went on to complete his PhD during the ChallengeX years for The Ohio State team and eventually helped the team in a co-advisory role for EcoCAR: The NeXt Challenge. He now has become a professor of Mechanical Engineering at OSU, a role that involves teaching and conducting automotive research.
In addition to teaching at OSU, Shawn also assumes the role of Lead Supervisor for the OSU EcoCAR 2 team, managing day-to-day operations. “Our team is very self-sufficient, which is what most successful teams are. They are very student-driven in this organization,” he said.
Shawn said that he finds AVTCs to be a valuable learning experience for students. “The types of skills that we’re teaching our students in the EcoCAR program are the same skills that the advanced groups are looking for in the industry.”
As a student participant and a faculty supervisor, Shawn’s favorite AVTC moment has stayed the same. “The best part of the competition is seeing the moment when all the hard work from gutting the vehicle and doing all the design work comes to fruition – when you turn the key and the engine or electric motor comes on and is actually able to move under its own power,” he said.
Check out Shawn in this alumni video!