Wayne State University

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International student comes to Detroit to take part in the electric-drive vehicle revolution, lands hybrid system engineer job upon graduation

January 17, 2014

Mengjia Cao, who recently graduated with a master’s in electric-drive vehicle engineering (EVE) from Wayne State University, believes that electrical vehicles are the future of the automotive industry and is doing her part to make this future a reality.

    
 
  Cao was highlighted in a recent College of Engineering video. Click on the above image to view the video.

“I have always believed electric/hybrid cars will be the future of transportation,” says Cao. “I am very happy to contribute to this emerging revolution.”

Cao grew up in Chongqing, China and received a bachelor’s in engineering at the Nanjing University of Science and Technology before coming to Wayne State to study electrical-drive vehicle engineering.

“I wrote to Jerry Ku, an associate professor and program director for the electric-drive vehicle engineering program, regarding the curriculum and admission. He greatly encouraged me to apply because the program fit my background and goals,” says Cao. “Not only does Wayne State offer the one-of-a-kind electric-drive vehicle engineering program, but it also participates in the EcoCAR 2 competition.”

Cao joined the EcoCAR 2 team as a technical graduate research assistant, a role in which she was able to apply her specialty in thermal modeling and simulation for hybrid vehicle powertrain. Cao says her involvement in EcoCAR 2 has provided her with valuable modeling and simulation skills on programs such as Matlab/Simulink and CAN.

With the experience and knowledge Cao gained from EcoCAR 2 and the EVE program, she was easily able to find employment; she is already working full time at Chrysler in Auburn Hills as a contract hybrid system engineer.

“Wayne State’s location in Detroit means easier access to internship and job opportunities in the automotive industry. That was another reason I chose Wayne State,” says Cao.

Cao plans to stay in Michigan for now, noting that she is inspired by the spirit of Detroiters and by the automotive opportunities available in the area.

“My goal is to put more hybrid electric and electric vehicles on the road,” says Cao. “My work in hybrid electric vehicle product development allows me to do just that, thanks to my engineering education and experience in EcoCAR 2.”