Where Are They Now: Ohio State University’s Craig Pavlich

Before becoming an engineering student at Ohio State University (OSU), Craig Pavlich had experience working on cars and motorcycles. After joining OSU’s Challenge X team in 2006, he shifted his focus from mechanical engineering to electronics and computer. Advanced Vehicle Technology Competitions (AVTCs) prepared him well for his career, and in many ways, the knowledge and experiences have carried over to his professional life.

Craig went on to graduate from OSU with a bachelor’s degree in both English literature and mechanical engineering. He later went on to earn a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

Today, Craig is a researcher at Argonne National Laboratory Advanced Powertrain Research Facility. The research he does in this position is presented to government policy makers and is very influential upon future automotive policies. Craig says his involvement in AVTCs was a key part of landing his job at Argonne. “After completing my master’s degree and gaining industry experience, I used connections at Argonne that I had gained through my involvement in AVTCs to secure a position as a researcher.”

While the connections were important, AVTCs also provided knowledge and inspiration that he carries with him in his job today. “A lot of what I do in the industry now is informed by what I wish I could have done for my vehicle as a student,” he said. “In my career, I’ve been able to extend from my experience in the competition. I’ve been able to do more involved testing, simulation, code development and controls development.”

Craig says that one of the greatest advantages to being involved with AVTCs is that it encourages cross-functional development between different disciplines of engineering. This creates a broad knowledge base, which helps the participants advance as professionals.

“We expect our mechanical engineers to learn electrical engineering and our electrical engineers to learn controls and computer engineering because we want to deliver to the industry well-rounded and fully-versed engineers who, at the system level, understand what needs to happen,” he said.

Looking back at his time in AVTCs, Craig advises current and future participants to be open-minded and avoid self-imposed limits. “The biggest lesson I learned from the competition was that your expectations can actually limit you,” Craig said. “You can do far more than you ever believed was possible. The most important thing is to try no matter how doubtful you are about your ability to do it.”

Hear more about Craig’s AVTCs experience here: