Scholarship recipient gains key skills with EcoCAR3 project

Scholarship recipient gains key skills with EcoCAR3 project
Ali Hussein stands beside the EcoCAR3 vehicle during an organizational outreach activity.

Ali Hussein has found a welcoming, supportive and exciting environment at Wayne State University’s College of Engineering. With the help of scholarships, the senior has found time for initiatives such as EcoCAR3, where a student team converts a 2016 Chevrolet Camaro into a hybrid vehicle. Hussein serves as project manager and showcases the project on campus and at area high schools.

What is your background, and what led you to Wayne State?

My parents are from Palestine and I consider myself Palestinian, but I was born in Saudi Arabia. We moved to Jordan when I was 2 years old, and I grew up there until we moved to the U.S. in 2008 when I was in 7th grade.

I decided to come to Wayne State because of the engineering program and its ties to the automotive industry, and I loved the urban campus when I came for a visit.

How did financial aid factor into your decision to attend Wayne State?

Financial aid was one of the big deciding factors when choosing my university, and Wayne State gave me one of the best scholarship offers.

I have the Gold Award scholarship, and it is vital for me being able to attend the university and pay for my tuition and other university expenses. More importantly, it gives me time to stay active in hands-on projects, like EcoCAR3.

What is EcoCAR3?

EcoCAR3 tasks the Hybrid Warriors team with reengineering our Camaro into a hybrid vehicle. We compete against 15 other universities, and work to transform the vehicle while keeping some of its classic features.

My current role is the team’s project manager, but I started off with the team back in my freshman year as a member of the mechanical team. This project has been the heart and soul of my learning at Wayne State. It provides me with a platform to apply what I learn in class to a real world application in a setting similar to a startup.

You’ve presented this project to different audiences?

At a recent Society of Women Engineers event, parents of girls in 8th through 12th grade toured our garage. The parents asked a lot of interesting questions, and they were curious about the program.

I’ve also presented at Detroit high schools. I tell students to take what you have learned in class and find a way to apply it to your work. That’s what I do every day with EcoCAR3—I learn about a theory and find a way to apply it.

It’s important for people interested in the program to understand all the great benefits that EcoCAR brings to the table. EcoCAR can only succeed with a continuous influx of students eager to become the engineers of the future.

Do you have any advice for these future engineers?

Always find yourself within a project. Find a hobby that you are interested in, learn about it and apply it. That’s part of being an engineer—finding a problem and trying to solve it.

(August 9, 2017)

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