Every year, General Motors honors women who are outstanding in the field of engineering and have made pathways for other women through their work in EcoCAR. Countless Advanced Vehicle Technology Competition (AVTC) women have demonstrated outstanding technical excellence and a commitment to enable more women to study engineering and pursue careers in the automotive industry through the EcoCAR.
At this year’s competition, the General Motors Women in Engineering Rookie Award was given to Kerri Lloyd from the Ohio State University EcoCAR 3 team. Jessica Britt from the Georgia Tech team was awarded the 2018 General Motors Women in Engineering Award.
The Rookie Award recognizes an outstanding female EcoCAR Team member who is already contributing to the team, yet has the potential to do even more. Kerri just completed her second full year on the team, and as a junior she was selected to be the Electrical Team Lead, a position often given to graduate students. With a strong personal automotive background, she dove into her leadership role with confidence and led the integration of multiple new low and high voltage systems into her team’s vehicle. She also demonstrated her commitment to encouraging women to pursue engineering. In an effort to encourage more women, she created an EcoCAR Women of Excellence award that she presented at the school’s Women in Engineering Banquet on behalf of her team.
Jessica Britt, reciepient of the General Motors Women in Engineering Award, impressed the judges with her professional quality presentations, and with the passion that she exudes for EcoCAR. In her 4 years on the EcoCAR team, she has held roles in Project Management, Controls & SMS, Electrical, System Safety, and Communication. She took on these assignments as personal growth opportunities and because with each she saw an opportunity to help take her team to the next level, both technically and with female engagement.
As the System Safety Manager and part of the Controls & SMS Team, Jessica led the development, documentation, and testing of componentized safety checks for 132 operational and safety requirements with 401 individual use cases within her team’s Camaro’s supervisory controller.
Jessica demonstrated equal dedication to engaging women in engineering for her team by revamping the team recruiting process when she noted a drop-off in female team members between Years 2 and 3. By using targeted mailing lists and Facebook posts sent by women team members, the team was able to increase the visibility of the existing women on the team and make themselves more attractive to new recruits.
In parallel, by creating a friendly atmosphere in the team’s shop for both women and men who were shy about asking how they could get involved, she was able to encourage multiple team members to reach outside their comfort zones to be stronger contributors to the team. As a result of these efforts, the team was able to double their female participation in Year 4 as well as grow the percent of women in leadership positions from 25% in Year 2, to 46% in Year 4.
The judges heard from a dozen strong candidates this year for the title, and the accomplishments each of these women shared demonstrated their highly developed technical skills, commitment to encouraging other women to pursue and succeed in engineering, and overall excitement for EcoCAR.
We congratulate Kerri Lloyd, Jessica Britt, and all the men and women of EcoCAR who make the fields of science and engineering more welcome to everyone.