Women’s Equality Day: Recognizing the Women of AVTCs

Over the weekend we celebrated Women’s Equality Day, where we recognize the accomplishments of women, both past and present, in Advanced Vehicle Technology Competitions (AVTC). AVTCs are dedicated to engaging women in STEM and preparing female leaders for their future careers. Through key partnerships with the National Science Foundation and General Motors, students in the current EcoCAR 3 AVTC series have participated in more than 250 youth outreach events across North America aimed at attracting women and other underrepresented groups into STEM careers and recruiting and retaining women on their EcoCAR 3 student teams. The percentage of female participants has increased by 14% (from 11% to 25%) since the program’s inception in 1988, helping to seed the industry with hundreds of female leaders who have taken their experiences and skills from AVTCs to utilize in their careers.

We are proud to announce that some of these outstanding women AVTC alumna are joining us as EcoCAR 3 organizers. Check out their stories below:

M.J. Yatsko, Hybrid Powertrain Calibrator

M.J. Yatsko is joining the EcoCAR organizing team as one of the General Motors Technical leads for EcoCAR 3.  In her day job, she is a GM hybrid powertrain calibrator. Previously, M.J. was a member of the Ohio State EcoCAR 1 and 2 teams (2010 to 2014) and served as team leader for the first two years of the Ohio State EcoCAR 3 competition (2014 to 2016). During her time at Ohio State, she worked as a member of the mechanical; controls; modeling and simulation; and project management teams.

MJ Malibu

M.J. graduated with her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Mechanical Engineering from Ohio State in 2014 and 2016 respectively. EcoCAR gave M.J. the opportunity to combine her passion for cars and green engineering in a hands on environment. Throughout EcoCAR she was able to learn about hybrid vehicle controls which led M.J. to three internships at General Motors and eventually a full time job in hybrid calibration.


Yessenia Toscano, Design Release Engineer

Yessinia will be a key member of GM’s logistics team for EcoCAR 3 and is currently a design release engineer for General Motors.

As a child, Yessenia had a strong interest in Math and Science, which little did she know would lead into a career in STEM. She attended California State University, Los Angeles and once Yessenia joined her university’s EcoCAR 2 team she declared mechanical engineering as her major. Yessenia participated on her university’s EcoCAR 2 team from 2012-2014 and worked on the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu.


Yessenia graduated in 2014 and was recently accepted into Arizona State University Master’s in Engineering Management program. She is very passionate and hardworking and is excited to start this new chapter in her life.


Katherine Bovee Control Systems Engineer

Katherine Bovee will also be joining the EcoCAR organizing team as a co-Tech Lead for EcoCAR 3 with M.J. Yatsko. She is a former member of the Ohio State University’s EcoCAR and EcoCAR 2 teams.  As a student, Katherine mainly worked with engine efficiency and soon became the controls lead. During EcoCAR 2, Katherine became the Team Lead for the Ohio State team, overseeing modeling and controls aspects of the competition.

Katherine BoveeAccording to Katherine, the EcoCAR 2 competition was an incredible journey and learning experience for her and her team. She graduated with her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Mechanical Engineering from Ohio State, as well as her PhD. Katherine now works as a control systems engineer at General Motors. She works on future hybrid vehicle platforms to verify the control structure is in place to control the hardware put in new vehicles.

Please help us welcome M.J., Yessenia and Katherine to the EcoCAR 3 organizing team. They join a long legacy of successful alumnae and women organizers in the AVTC program!