Leading Female Engineering Excellence with EcoCAR
A Six-Year Journey of Growth, Dedication and Success
Kristina Kuwabara, co-engineering manager and CSMS lead for the Ohio State EcoCAR team, was honored with the Women in STEM Award during Year Two of the EcoCAR Mobility Challenge. Her story at CAR began when she stumbled upon the EcoCAR team during her freshman year’s involvement fair. During her first contact with the EcoCAR program, Kuwabara was fascinated by the intricacy of automotive. As her passion and interest in sustainable mobility solutions and the automotive sector grew, she decided to switch her major from chemical engineering to mechanical engineering.
Kuwabara dedicated over 50 hours to the EcoCAR team each week over the past six years. Her commitment and passion towards the program are reflected in her increasingly salient leadership role with the team. Joining as a mechanical team member in her first two years with EcoCAR, Kuwabara became the Propulsion Control and Modeling Lead in her fifth year and eventually taking the role of the Co-Engineering Manager in her sixth year.
To Kuwabara, the best part of EcoCAR experience was the diversity of tasks she worked on each day. From experiences with industry software to development and implementation of control algorithms, she was armed with a comprehensive technical skillset. Kuwabara was also very appreciative of the opportunity to work with other great engineers. “They have helped me grow technically and fostered my leadership skills.”
Besides her technical involvement with the EcoCAR team, Kuwabara also put lots of effort into promoting women in engineering. She has spoken at several student involvement events to recruit female engineers for EcoCAR, encouraging freshmen to get involved and maximize their college experience. “I think my biggest piece of advice for females getting involved in an engineering career path is to find something your passionate about and get involved in experimental learning outside of the classroom.”
With the technical and interpersonal skills Kuwabara accumulated over the years, she was able to land two summer interns at GM, and this October, she will start her first full-time job at GM.
Recalling Kuwabara’s time with EcoCAR, Shawn Midlam-Mohler, the advisor of EcoCAR and Director of SIMCenter, said “Kristina really exemplifies what the EcoCAR program is, and she took this opportunity to hone her technical and business skills in an environment that is almost identical to industry.”
Written by David Wang, CAR Writing Intern