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Spring 2022


If you have any noteworthy items (articles, events, student news, etc.) that you would like to be featured in future newsletters, please email them to Cristina ( 

Previous Editions of the departmental newsletter can now be found online HERE.

Letter from the Chair

Dear students, staff and faculty of Automotive Engineering: 
As my first semester as department chair comes to a close and I have a chance to reflect on what we have accomplished, I could not be prouder. Just a few highlights from a very busy semester: 
  • The undergraduate Automotive Engineering program has now received approval from the Clemson Board of Trustees. This is the last step for the internal process, so now it is off to the SC Commission on Higher Education for consideration in October. We will begin detailed discussions on the program design this summer.
  • We have successfully formed a new school of Mechanical and Automotive Engineering. This organization should not affect our day-to-day departmental operations much, but will allow us to present ourselves to the outside world as a single entity with greater capabilities than either department alone. We hope to name a director shortly, who will work with a staff/faculty group on the organization.
  • Last week it was my pleasure to announce the promotion of three faculty members (Profs. Jia, Brooks, and Prucka). We are building future leadership in the department, and our faculty searches for a new BMW Systems Integration chair and junior position in materials are off to a great start.
  • I am proud to announce the formation of a new departmental committee on Inclusive Excellence chaired by Dr. Brooks, with Jeremiah, Jeff Z., Behnaz, Jerome, Shunyu and Ben as members. They have arranged mental health awareness training for all staff and faculty, are developing a mentoring program for students, and growing relationships with the PEER/WISE program to launch our undergraduate offering in the right direction.
  • The department, college and university have placed a great emphasis over the past year on student mental health which has shown itself to be a greater difficulty than in the past. School can be a stressful situation at times with pressures from a lot of different directions. If things are starting to get overwhelming, just ask any staff or faculty for help; we are all now quite aware of the depth of resources available to support you. 
As we wind up the semester, it is great to look back on these successes and forward to those yet to come. I had a chance to attend Artisphere last weekend and saw the strong volunteer spirit of our faculty and students – AuE was heavily represented with the real “All In” attitude of Clemson on display. I look forward to celebrating with our graduates at the MS and PhD ceremonies as they launch into the next phase of their lives, well-prepared through everyone’s hard work. Thank you all for that; now let’s have a rewarding (and hopefully relaxing) summer!
Hiring Updates: 
Student Services Coordinator II interviews will begin next week

BMW Endowed Chair Search is underway. The committee is currently reviewing applications, but still accepting referrals; please continue to share those with the search committee

AuE/MSE Faculty Position: The position has been posted and the committee has begun reviewing applications.
Congratulations to Johnell Brooks and Robert Prucka for their promotions to Full Professor and to Yunyi Jia for his promotion to Associate Professor with tenure! Johnell is the first female faculty member in AuE to be promoted to Full Professor. 
AuE's annual Fellowship & Awards ceremony returned in-person for the first time since 2019. The ceremony is an annual event recognizing the fellowship, scholarship, and award winners from our department. 
More pictures can be found HERE
New Item Alert!
We now have a variety of hats available in the AuE Marketplace online store. You can find other AuE merchandise such as Nalgene bottles, insulated tumblers, sweatshirts, koozies and tees. Items are available for pick up in Kay's office after purchase or we can ship for a $10 fee. Check it out HERE
CU Automotive Engineering at SAE WCX in Detroit
Many of AuE's faculty and students made the trip to Detroit, MI to attend SAE WCX. Highlights from the event included VIPR-GS on the big stage. I'm sure it was great to be back in person!
Recruiting Event
Our team hosted "A Slice of Automotive Engineering" undergrad recruitment event at the Hendrix Center. Over 40 undergraduate students stopped by to learn about our programs, while enjoying a slice of free pizza.

Thanks to Dr. Mears, Jeremiah, Cristina, Josh Bradford and Dr. McClendon for taking time to get the word out about Automotive Engineering!

Recent News

Clemson announces $100M partnership with US Army 
President Clements, US Army Chief Scientist David Gorsich along side our own Zoran Filipi, announced the $100M commitment from the US government aimed at developing innovative virtual prototyping tools for designing the next generation of on- and off-road vehicles.

Read the announcement in ClemsonNews HERE
Read more on LinkedIn HERE and HERE
Read coverage from the Charleston Post & Courier HERE
Article from the AP HERE
Ben Lawler quoted in Fox Carolina article 
Dr. Lawler was quoted in a Fox Carolina news article about the rising cost of gasoline and the effects of cheap gas on your engine. He said that driver's should follow their owners manual regarding fuel requirements, especially for older vehicles, but a few tanks of lower grade fuel probably won't hurt anything.

Read the article HERE
James Sternberg finalist in the 2022 Sustainability Event 
Dr. James Sternberg was one of the finalists selected for the International Space Station Sustainability Challenge: Beyond Plastics Event. His entry was from his PhD work on Non-Isocyanate Polyurethane Foams.
Congratulations James!

Read more about the event HERE
You can watch his presentation HERE (he is #7)
James Sternberg Interviewed on SC Public Radio

Dr. James Sternberg was interviewed by Mike Switzer, host of the South Carolina Business Review regarding the InnoVision Technology Sustainability Award for his research involving nylon and molecular zippers.

Listen to the interview HERE
Ralph R. Teetor Educational Award for 2022 

Ben Lawler was recognized at SAE WCX for winning the Ralph R. Teetor Educational Award for 2022. Dr. Lawler joins AuE's 7 past recipients of this award, including Drs. Prucka, Pilla, Mears, Ayalew, and Jia. Congratulations Dr. Lawler!

See the article in ClemsonNews HERE
Read more about the award HERE.
Cadence Software announces collaboration with CU;
AuE and VIPR-GS mentioned in the announcement 
The collaboration with Cadence aids Clemson’s educational mission in a variety of areas by offering students and faculty access to the same computational software solutions utilized by engineers in the public and private sectors. The rollout is first launching in the College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences and the College of Science.

Read the announcement in ClemsonNews HERE
AuE launches Diversity, Equity and Inclusion webpage
The AuE Inclusive Excellence Committee, led by Dr. Johnell Brooks, has produced a webpage all about Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Automotive Engineering. This is one of the first, if not the first, of its kind on any CECAS department site. Members of the committee include Dr. Brooks, Dr. McClendon, Dr. Lawler and Dr. Zhang. Big thanks to the committee for leading the way in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion!  See the webpage HERE.

Faculty and Staff Degree Recognition Luncheon

Jeremiah Farmer was invited to attend the Faculty & Staff Degree Recognition Luncheon at the Madren Center Ballroom in April. The Luncheon is to recognize Faculty and Staff who have completed advanced degrees while working for the University. Jeremiah completed his Master's degree in Human Resource Development in August 2021.
President's Leadership Institute Graduation
Dr. Johnell Brooks graduated from the PLI program in May 2022. Johnell joins two other AuE graduates of the program (Beshah Ayalew & Srikanth Pilla). Join us in congratulating her on this accomplishment.

Read more about the program HERE
CU Grow visits CU-ICAR
The CU Grow group, hosted by current CU Grow participant Cristina Shorts, toured the ICAR campus in March. The group spent the day in CGEC and AVX lab getting the low down on our programs here and were joined by CU Grow alum Gary Mathis! Read more about this program HERE.

Deep Orange 12 featured in Clemson World
The DO12 vehicle, the driverless racecar, was featured in the last edition of ClemsonWorld.

Read the article HERE.
Dr. Krovi on The CHAT

Venkat Krovi was invited by the CU school of Health Research to give a CHAT (Clemson Health Advancement Talks) on Robotic Technologies Transforming Health Care.
Upcoming Dates & Deadlines
MS Graduation & Doctoral Hooding, Thursday, May 12th
Summer semester begins (first day of class), Tuesday, May 17th
Last Day to Apply for August Graduation, Tuesday, June 7th
Last Day of Summer Classes, Wednesday, August 3rd
Summer Exams, Friday August 5th & Monday, August 8th
Doctoral Hooding, Thursday, August 12th
MS Graduation, Friday, August 13th
Memorial Day, Monday May 30
Independence Day, Monday July 4
View the full academic calendar HERE.
View the full holiday schedule HERE.
Student Spotlight
Congratulations to our May 2022 Graduates!
Ryan Colletti

George Carter
Quentin De Boever (Enroute)
Jacob Kuserk
Arye Levi
Erik Vorwerk (Enroute)

Graduate Certificate
Bryan Chacon
Daniel de la Calle

Undergraduate Certificate
Cameron Wingertz
Duncan MacRae
Aaron Chen*
Cody Cotton
Mingyang Gao
Drew Girshovich*
Kelly Penland
Tyler Lawson

*We look forward to welcoming these students to our incoming MS Cohort in Fall 2022!
AuE Students attend SC Auto Summit

Several of our AuE students were chosen to attend the SC Auto Summit. Pictured here are Alex Sapp, Scott Kerner, Bartley Cai, Joshua Bradford, Nikhil Nanjappa Cariappa, Jose Zapata Meza and Darshil Patel. While attending the summit, they met the new President and CEO of BMW Manufacturing, the SC Commerce Secretary and even Governor McMaster. 

Student Awards

Ethan Wescoat awarded a SMART scholarship from the DoD

Ethan Wescoat was awarded a SMART scholarship, funded by the United States Department of Defense.

Amer Hasanovic receives ASME Outstanding Student Member Award

AuE Certificate recipient Amer Hasanovic was awarded the ASME Outstanding Student Member Award. This award is given to a member of Clemson ASME who has demonstrated high academic achievement and shown great commitment to the club standards and their fellow peers.
Jose Zapata Meza was invited to participate in an advisory board on main campus where he had the opportunity to mingle with high-level executives, peers, and President Clements. We were proud to have Jose represent AuE and provide valuable input during the panel. Thanks Jose!
Lauren Slann's poster placed 1st in the graduate student competition at the Society of Plastics Engineers Plastics in Electric & Autonomous Vehicles conference.  Weeks before, her poster placed 3rd overall in the graduate student category at the 15th Annual Materials and Optics Poster Symposium. Lauren is part of Dr.Pilla's research group. Congratulations Lauren!
Tyler Grimm, advised by Dr. Mears, was recognized at the CECAS Honors and Awards ceremony for receiving AuE's Outstanding Ph.D. Student Award.

Congratulations Tyler!
AuE Merchandise Sightings!
*Tag us on Instagram (@clemsonautomotive) sporting your AuE Merchandise for your chance to be featured in this section of our quarterly newsletter*
(1) Cristina Shorts showing off her AuE chino hat at the CU Lamaster Dairy Center (2) AuE Alum Daniel Yoon and family sporting his AuE crewneck sweatshirt (3) Jeremiah & Magnolia Farmer meet the Tiger in his AuE camo trucker hat (4) Cindy McMahan and son Ewan show their CU pride at an AutoShow in ATL (5) Abhinay staying warm in his AuE sweatshirt (6) Shorts family poses in their AuE crewneck sweatshirts in front of DO at GSP (7) PhD student Mugdha working hard in her AuE sweatshirt (8) Jerome McClendon shows his AuE pride with his chino hat at Artisphere (9) Doug Grondel, online MS student, visits campus in his AuE trucker hat (10) Buster Paredis shows off his AuE chino hat in driftwood on his beach vacation
AuE Instagram
Automotive Engineering department page