Where Are They Now: Ryan Andrade

Ryan Andrade has an impressive education resume – valedictorian of his high school, graduating from the University of California Davis (UC Davis) with the highest award achievable in the College of Engineering, and completing his Master of Science at Stanford University. But just as impressive are his achievements in ChallengeX.

Ryan was a Mechanical Integration Specialist on UC Davis’ “Team Fate” during 2006 and 2007. He focused on the design, fabrication and integration of the rear electric secondary powertrain of the team’s Chevy Equinox. They modified and retrofitted the vehicle from the ground up to be an ethanol-burning parallel plug-in hybrid with an all-electric range of 40 miles.

Ryan got involved in ChallengeX because he was interested in mechanical design and alternative energy. Despite the numerous all-nighters he and his teammates pulled, his favorite moment was riding in their vehicle during the annual UC Davis Picnic Day parade.

“It was a pretty satisfying moment, considering how much blood and sweat had been poured into the car by myself and my teammates,” he said.

Ryan’s main points of focus while obtaining his Masters at Stanford were on smart product design and mechatronics. Working on a variety of embedded systems and robotics projects led him to become part of the teaching staff for his program.

While in college Ryan also held a number of summer internships, including participation on a General Motors-funded research project for automotive hydrogen storage at Sandia National Laboratories, working on the development of chemical processing systems for the conversion of waste streams for BioFuelBox, and serving on the Powertrain Manufacturing Engineering team at Tesla Motors.

He is currently working at Google as a mechanical engineer, developing and integrating an automotive-grade sensor and computing platforms for autonomous vehicles. To date, the vehicles he works on have driven over 300,000 miles. “I am really excited by this technology and the potential it has to transform people’s lives,” he said.

Ryan is grateful for his time in ChallengeX.

“Many of the skills I developed while working on the ChallengeX project have been directly applicable and valuable to my first job,” he said. “I am confident that [the AVTC program] is doing much good for society by providing young engineers with an opportunity to explore a passion for technology and automobiles in a very practical, hands-on way.”

Feel free to check out Ryan’s personal portfolio at www.ryanandrade.com.

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