A Look at the EcoCAR 2011 Outstanding Faculty Advisors

EcoCAR would like to congratulate Shawn Midlam-Mohler, The Ohio State University EcoCAR advisor and staff research engineer, and Marshall Molen, Mississippi State University EcoCAR advisor and professor of diversified technology, for recently winning awards honored by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

For more than a decade, the National Science Foundation (NSF) has honored an incoming and long-term faculty advisor within the DOE Advanced Vehicle Technology Competition (AVTC) program that best promotes the AVTC goals, objectives, and activities within their university. Advisors receive a $10,000 cash prize toward their AVTC program as well as special recognition from the NSF.

The NSF recognizes the pivotal role of the faculty advisors to a team’s success. These awards recognize advisors who have successfully incorporated the EcoCAR goals, objectives and activities into their undergraduate curriculum and the benefits students receive as a result of the EcoCAR program are of special importance.

Dr. Shawn Midlam-Mohler

Dr. Midlam-Mohler, winner of the Outstanding Incoming Faculty award, exemplified his dedication to the program by continuously supporting students’ work, while still challenging them to develop solutions independently.

“Dr. Midlam-Mohler has made a difference in my personal education through his encouragement, his contagious excitement about learning, and his challenge to his students to pursue academic rigor and excellence,” said OSU Co-Team Leader Beth Bezaire.

Dr. Midlam-Mohler is a former team captain and member of the OSU FutureTruck team. While a graduate student at OSU, he became a research scientist at the Center for Automotive Research, where the AVTC team is based. From there he began to learn from advisor Dr. Georgio Rizonni, helping with the ChallengeX team and later becoming co-advisor for the EcoCAR team.

Bezaire believes Dr. Midlam-Mohler has greatly contributed to EcoCAR having been involved in the competition in the past.

“He cares about building us up into the leaders and the next generation of engineers that we have the potential to be,” she said.

Aside from working with the EcoCAR team, he supports many research activities and oversees many of the engine-related experimental programs at OSU-CAR.

Dr. Marshall Molen

Dr. Molen, winner of the Outstanding Long Term Faculty Advisor award, played an essential role in securing funding and academic support for the MSU program, working with a number of constituents to enable a high quality learning environment and strong team.

“Dr. Molen’s constant vigilance in keeping the team head toward the goals that we set for ourselves and his attention to detail has allowed the MSU EcoCAR team to excel,” said EcoCAR participant Thomas Goddette, “These qualities have influenced me to do things right the first time and to take pride in my work.”

While MSU always had a strong emphasis on research, there remained few resources for automotive research and manufacturing, despite the building of the Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems (CAVS) in 2003. However, the following year MSU was accepted into the ChallengeX competition, led by Dr. Molen. This in turn helped to prepare the Center for similar projects.

Following this new use of the Center, the labs began to fill out with equipment, much at the request of the ChallengeX team, and helped bring MSU additional engineering research. MSU had previously enrolled engineering students with hopes of pursuing a career in areas such as aerospace, petroleum or manufacturing, but under the leadership of Dr. Molen, MSU became a frontrunner in AVTC and significantly gained the attention of incoming students.

EcoCAR is proud of the efforts of both Dr. Midlam-Mohler and Dr. Molen for providing their valuable leadership and guidance to EcoCAR students as they strive to learn, grow and prepare for their future careers.