Summer experiences enhance classroom learning

Posted: July 30, 2021

If you stop by CAR this summer, you’ll likely see some new faces – a number of high school and college students are spending their summer here, gaining experience in automotive engineering.

Chance Carafice
Chance Carafice

As a member of the Ohio State EcoCAR team, Chance Carafice was familiar with CAR before he began his internship. “Being on the EcoCAR team, I learned about the variety of cool stuff that takes place at CAR,” said Carafice. “The people that work at CAR are great engineers and insanely intelligent. Having the opportunity to work with them is always a huge bonus to my learning experience at OSU!”

Carafice is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in engineering physics with a specialization in aerospace engineering. He hopes to one-day conduct research related to vehicle automation, drones or aerospace.

This summer, he is working with Prashanth Ramesh in the Battery Lab, setting up a sensor suite using Arduino boards to send notifications via the cloud, of a power outage. “When power outages occur in Columbus, CAR’s power also goes out,” said Carafice. “The battery lab has tests that need to run continuously for days, if not months, so Prashanth needs to know when a power outage occurs. This is because the cooling chambers go down but the batteries keep running because they are their own power source and, with the chambers down, the batteries can melt inside the machine. The end goal is to have sensors to alert Prashanth of power outages that he can view online and be notified so that when it happens, it can be taken care of immediately.” 

Carafice said he has most enjoyed working on technical problems especially with people in a variety of fields because everyone has a different viewpoint. He has also enjoyed working with Prashanth because he has learned a lot from him about how batteries work.

In addition to his involvement with EcoCAR, Carafice is also part of the Glacier Environmental Change Group at the Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center. 

Rebecca Webb
Rebecca Webb

Rebecca Webb has already gained some real world experience in the automotive engineering. She previously worked at Toyota as an Evaluation Engineer before pursuing her master’s degree in mechanical engineering at Ohio State. “Coming into graduate school, my goal was to deepen my level of expertise in automotive engineering while working in a collaborative environment,” said Webb. “CAR is the best place for me to accomplish these goals.”  

Webb’s work at CAR is primarily focused around electrification and modelling/simulation under the direction of Professor Marcello Canova. “There are a lot of efforts towards identifying next generation materials that can improve the energy density of lithium-ion cells,” said Webb. “My research focuses on modelling, simulation and performance prediction of next generation lithium-ion variants.”

In addition to her love of engineering, Webb also loves animals. She has a pet cat named Red.

CAR is hosting two interns from the RISE Summer Program. An internship program sponsored by the National Science Foundation that focuses on sustainable energy opportunities for incoming PhD students.

David Mapunda
David Mapunda

“I was interested in the RISE Program because of its focus on sustainable energy,” said David Mapunda who will begin his PhD in aerospace engineering under the direction of Professor Giorgio Rizzoni in the spring. “I think it is something everyone should be interested in because it’s providing a sustainable future for humanity.”

Mapunda is currently working on the NASA ULI project with Rizzoni and Research Scientist Matilde D’Arpino. This is his first time as a student at Ohio State and he is experiencing it entirely virtually, from China.

“Working completely virtually certainly has its ups and downs,” said Mapunda. “On the downside, I spend most of my time staring at my computer screen reading papers, planning my presentations etc. I’m an outdoor person so this feels like a huge task. However, the upside is that despite being miles away, I still get to work and learn from expert faculty in the field of electric vehicles, which are the core for future mobility. Throughout the process I am maturing as a scholar and a future engineer.” 

Mapunda has most enjoyed his interactions with Rizzoni and D’Arpino during his internship. “It’s the best because not only are they experts in their field, but they also make me feel welcome,” said Mapunda. “I feel like I’m part of the team and that makes me feel at peace so that I can focus all my energy on the project that I’m working on.”

By interning at CAR, Mapunda has been able to meet others in the RISE program and talk to them about their experiences. “It’s been interesting to get to meet people and hear their stories coming from different areas and experiences and what they are interested in and how they want to use their knowledge in sustainable engineering,” he said.

Myung Bae Koh
Myung Bae Koh

“I always wanted to learn more about technologies and operations of electric vehicle charging stations, and Dr. D’Arpino’s project with second-life batteries was the perfect research opportunity for me,” said Myung Bae Koh, who is pursuing his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering.

Koh is utilizing Dynamic Programming to maximize the revenue when second-life batteries are applied to ancillary services. “This finding will assist in planning the optimized DC-fast charging (DCFC) station operations with grid services and simulating the station models,” he said. 

Koh says that his experience at CAR has been very enjoyable because of the professional, intelligent and kind people he works with. “I am able to openly discuss the theories or applications of the research with students and staff,” said Koh. “I like being in a team that tries to accomplish meaningful goals in the project. 

On the weekends, you’ll likely find Koh on the tennis courts, as he recently began playing tennis.

gurpreet singh
Gurpreet Singh

Gurpreet Singh is spending his summer at CAR working on a project that uses second life batteries to provide a faster DC charging solution for electric vehicles without always using the higher power from the grid. “This helps to reduce the energy costs by peak shaving and charging the batteries at cheaper rates,” said Singh who is pursuing his master’s degree in electrical and computer engineering.

“I was involved in some automotive projects during undergrad and gained so much knowledge from those experiences,” said Singh. ”I like working on vehicles and their technology. CAR was a big reason for me to join Ohio State and follow the path of working on EVs and new energy vehicles.”

Singh credits CAR Research Scientist, Matilde D’Arpino for his positive experience at CAR. “I think my mentor, Dr. Matilde D’Arpino is one of the most knowledgeable and skilled persons I know,” said Singh. “Working with her and the other team members on the project is amazing. It always excites me to expand my knowledge area and learn new things.”

Rowan Flynn
Rowan Flynn

“CAR is revolutionizing transport but not just for cars,” said Rowan Flynn, an undergraduate student in the Department of Aerospace Engineering. “It’s nice to see the versatility that comes with the work that goes on here. I want to work towards a future of carbon neutrality in our transportation, so electrification in air transport is exactly up my alley.”

Flynn is working with Professor Marcello Canova, Research Scientist Matilde D’Arpino and Lead Engineer Prashanth Ramesh on a project sponsored by NASA that focuses on the development of next-generation hybrid electric aircraft. Their work is centered around determining types and sizes of batteries to use in the propulsion system and how to best use the energy stored in that battery to improve fuel economy and reduce fossil fuel emissions.

“I have really enjoyed the supportive staff,” said Flynn. “With this sort of project there is a lot that I just don’t know, but through literature they have given me, they have all been really helpful in catching me up with the project and being accommodating, just knowing there is a lot of stuff for me to learn.”

Outside of CAR, you’ll find Flynn tending to the nearly 20 plants in their apartment. They have even begun to propagate a few!

harsh bavishi
Harsh Bavishi

Harsh Bavishi received his graduate degree from The Ohio State University in electrical and computer engineering this past spring, but didn’t stay away from campus for long. He is continuing at CAR on a project he worked on as a grad student. Under the direction of Research Scientist Matilde D’Arpino, Bavishi is working on a project related to protection devices for DC power distribution in electric vehicles and aircrafts.

Bavishi is comparing different protection devices for electric aircrafts and running simulations of them. He is also writing a paper comparing the devices by collecting data from their manufacturers and putting together a comparative analysis. “If anyone wants to select any of the devices for their product then they can refer to this comparative analysis and they will get a good idea of what they want based on their requirements,” said Bavishi.

In addition to this project, Bavishi is also assisting with a second life battery project as well as the NASA ULI project, but finds the electric aircraft project most exciting. “I’m the only person working on this part of the project, so I get to do all of the work for it,” said Bavishi. “I’m grateful for the opportunity to stay on at CAR after graduation and see the project through.”

John Speasmaker
John Speasmaker

John Speasmaker was searching for an opportunity that combined his interests in research and industry when he came upon the positions at CAR. “I’m interested in research and my role at CAR is allowing me to actually get that experience so that I know if I want to do that for my career,” said Speasmaker, who is pursuing his undergraduate degree in electrical and computer engineering.

Under the direction of CAR Research Scientist, Matilde D’Arpino, Speasmaker is creating a presentation about how electromagnetic interference (EMI) effects electric vehicles.

“The end goal is to share this presentation with CAR’s industry partners to educate them about moving towards electric vehicles,” said Speasmaker.

While much of his work with CAR is completed virtually, Speasmaker said the work he gets to do at CAR is what he has enjoyed most. “I really like going to CAR and participating in the lab work,” he said.

“The lab work I have done is in the low voltage battery lab helping with setup,” said Speasmaker. “I enjoyed the lab where we got to set up the equipment that would cycle the batteries for testing since I got to see all the components that are involved and how they all work together to run the tests.”

Sathyasheelan Santhanam
Sathyasheelan Santhanam

Sathyasheelan Santhanam, a graduate student in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering is involved in a Mobility Cyber Range (MCR) which uses a retrofitted test vehicle, called a CyberCAR, to research cybersecurity challenges in mobility systems and promote safety and security in the next generation of vehicles.

Under the direction of Research Associate Professor, Qadeer Ahmed, Santhanam is working on a Drive-By-Wire Kit, a complete industrial-grade hardware and software solution that allows seamless electronic control of autonomous features of the vehicle. He is also integrating an automotive grade controller for rapid control prototyping for real-time control with teleoperation.

“I’ve really enjoyed my internship so far,” said Santhanam. “It’s been a fun experience working at CAR!”

One of his favorite opportunities has been participating in a collaborative event where he got to drive the CyberCAR using a joystick.

Qazi Mairaj

Qazi Mairaj, a PhD student in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering is also spending his summer with the Cybersecurity team at CAR, working on the MCR.

COMMA AI is among the key modules that are currently being incorporated in the CyberCAR for MCR, to enhance its self-driving capabilities through the advanced perception algorithms. Furthermore, they are aiming to connect it to the Ohio State wireless network through cloud services to explore the possibilities of remote navigation and its associated challenges.  

“There are two things, I believe, that make a workplace more enjoyable,’ said Mairaj. “Having a challenging environment and a good company of peers. Fortunate enough, I found both these qualities at CAR, making every passing day here more fun and exciting.” 

When he’s not on campus, Mairaj loves going to trails for hiking and cycling. “You may usually find me at the Olentangy Trail over the weekends,” he said.

Satvik Khuntia

Satvik Khuntia received his undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering with a specialization in automotive engineering from Delhi Technological University in Delhi, India and was drawn to Ohio State for his master’s degree because of CAR. “CAR was the reason I chose Ohio State for my education,” said Khuntia. “The amount of research taking place, combined with the exceptional faculty and researchers has given me the opportunity and the platform to explore my interests and build on them.”

Khuntia is involved in the SuperTruck2 project under the guidance of Research Associate Professor, Qadeer Ahmed. The project aims to improve the freight efficiency of a long-haul class 8 truck by 100%.

“CAR provides a beautiful environment for learning and being around the hardworking students, research scholars and postdocs,” said Khuntia. “This is what spoke to me the most and I knew this is where I wanted to spend my time.”

xiaoling chen
Xiaoling Chen

Postdoctoral candidate, Xiaoling Chen, is joining CAR this summer to work with Professor Marcello Canova and Assistant Professor Stephanie Stockar. His work is primarily related to the modeling of lithium ion batteries with silicon anodes and prediction of battery aging. He is also involved in a project related to the optimal energy management in smart homes.

Chen has enjoyed the opportunity to work with people from different backgrounds on a variety of research projects. “People here are very nice and they never hesitate to share suggestions with me about life and work in this brand new environment,” Chen said. “I’ve really enjoyed discussions with students, faculty and researchers at CAR to broaden my research knowledge.”

In his spare time, Chen enjoys hiking, photographing natural landscapes and animals, watching soccer games and learning to play new musical instruments.

zack gammerman
Zack Gamerman

Zack Gamerman has dreamed of working at CAR even before receiving his Ohio State acceptance letter.

“Working on the cutting-edge side of the automotive industry has always been a dream of mine, and working at CAR was a big reason why I chose The Ohio State University,” said mechanical engineering student, Zack Gamerman who is working with Professor Ahmet Selamet in the Turbocharger Lab at CAR.

Gamerman’s responsibilities include the performance and overall operation of turbochargers through experimentation and theoretical review. “Most of what I do involves fabricating test set-ups, summarizing previous research or anything else I can to do aid in the current goals of Professor Selamet's lab,” said Gamerman.

“I’m really enjoying and appreciative of this opportunity to learn from some the most distinguished researchers and faculty making a significant impact on the industry and work towards turning my life-long automotive passion into a career,” said Gamerman. 

When he’s not at CAR, you can find Gamerman playing his guitar and hiking. 

Evelyn McCarthy
Evelyn McCarthy

Evelyn McCarthy is gaining college experience before she even graduates high school. A rising senior at Columbus School for Girls (CSG), McCarthy is spending her summer at CAR working with the Ohio State EcoCAR team.

“I’m currently editing models in Simulink and learning a lot about modeling cars in general,” said McCarthy. “It’s a brand new experience, but I’m really enjoying it.”

McCarthy was familiar with CAR before starting her internship. She is the captain of the CSG Robotics team which operates out of the Motorsports facility, directly behind CAR.

“My favorite part of my internship is getting to learn a lot of things that will be useful later on in life,” McCarthy said. “I’ve had the opportunity to work a lot with MatLab and Simulink and even if I don’t go directly into engineering, knowing these programs will be beneficial to me in the future. They will give me a leg up when I go to college.”

Nolan Little
Nolan Little

Nolan Little has always been fascinated with cars, so when he learned about CAR, he jumped at the opportunity to get involved!

“I became interested in CAR because I have always been fascinated with cars, and I had heard some of the amazing things done there and accomplished by those doing research at CAR,” said Little who is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering.

Under the direction of Research Scientist Matilde D’Arpino, Little is looking into the auxiliary systems of aircraft and the concept of a More Electric Aircraft (MEA).

“I have enjoyed learning more about the aerospace field,” said Little. “A lot of the topics I look into are brand new to me, and I love to absorb as much of the information as I can.”


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