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January 21, 2009 - Image 11

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2009-01-21

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The M h n y- d d

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Wedneday, 2009Dail

Engineering freshman Payton Spaller works on a car for the Baja Racing Team.

DETROIT THREE
From Page 5B
their pocketbooks a little harder,
but they also realize the value of the
things you can't account for in dol-
lars and cents.
As philanthropy has become
increasingly difficult, many large
auto industry firms have withdrawn
some or all of their funding of stu-
dent organizations like the Michi-
gan Formula SAE and Michigan
Baja Racing teams.
But team leaders said automotive
firms' struggles to find room in their
budgets for sponsorship have led
them to step up collaboration with
student organizations, contributing
their expertise, facilities and sup-
plies instead of cash.
Engineering junior Katherine
Lapham, the business director for
the University's Formula SAE team,
said the organization used to rely on
large donations fromcompanies like
Ford to build its car and compete in
annual events. Although Ford and
other supporters have scaled back
their donations in recent years, the
team has compensated for those
losses, often through collabora-
tive efforts that have improved the
team's relationship with sponsors,
she said.
"With GM and Ford cutting back
with everything, a lot of their sup-
plierscan help us more because they
have a lot more free time," Lapham
said. "They can't give us funding,
but they can help us machine, or
use their facilities. If we need some-
thing, we can ask them."

Michigan-based automotive firms
that have scaled back their mon-
etary donations have instead given
the team free parts and technical
support, often offering the chance
to use new technology in exchange
for their feedback. Others, like Pratt
& Miller Engineering, a New Hud-
son-based firm that specializes in
performance vehicles, have offered
the team access to its facilities after
hours, Lapham said.
Dean Guard, the coordinator of
GM's University of Michigan rela-
tions team, said he has pushed for
the company to continue donating
money to the University's vehicle
teams despite the company's finan-
cial struggles. That could change
this year because of unprecedented
pressure to cut back on costs, but
Guard said the company would con-
tinue to provide technical support
regardless.
"What does the future hold? I
couldn't tell you. We're obviously
in a very difficult time," Guard said.
"But even if we suffer a financial
obligations change, there's still an
awful lot we can do with very little
money and alot of our time."
Automotive firms have continued
to lend support to the student vehi-
cleteams and collaborative research
labs in part because the programs
have become important incubators
for future employees, Detroit Three
engineers said.
Fansler estimated that General
Motors has hired more than a dozen
University of Michigan students
who worked on GM-sponsored
research projects over the past
decade.

Many more have come from the
student vehicle teams, said Dean
Guard, chiefengineer ofGM's small-
block V8 engine program. He said
the automotive teams havebeen fer-
tile recruiting ground because they
allow GM to find engineers with the
interest and passion to make them
successful in the auto industry.
"There are plenty of good engi-
neers," Guard said. "We're not just
looking for good engineers. We're
looking for good engineers who are
passionate about vehicles."
Each year, the company offers
multiple scholarships to members
of the vehicle teams. Engineering
senior Andrew Kneifel, who has
received one of the scholarships
twice, said he has seen auto industry
officials continue to recruit on cam-
pus even though the slow economy
has prevented them from hiring at
the usual rate.
"It's been a great help to my per-
sonal educational expenses, but also
I see them building these relation-
ships with students, coming back to
career fairs," Kneifel said. "They're
still trying to develop relationships
with engineers."
While some students studying
automotive engineering said they
had begun looking for jobs in
other sectors, many said they
remain enthusiastic about work-
ing for the auto industry but have
acknowledged they might have
to wait a little while longer than
previously hoped.
Kneifel, a native of Rochester
Hills, said he hopes to find a job in
the auto industry but wasn't able
to secure a position last semester.
He said he plans to remain at the
University another year to earn
his master's degree and try again
afterward.
Jeremy Spater, a master's stu-
dent in mechanical engineering
who works on the HCCI research
project, said the slowdown in
hiring for automotive engineers
is discouraging but he doesn't
expect it to last.
"Right now, there are more
cars coming off the road than
there are being sold," Spater said.
"No, there's not better public
transportation now, and there's
no alternative to cars, so sooner
or later, people are going to have
to start buying them again."
RECHARGING FOR
THE FUTURE
Car sales fell across the board
last year as the economy strug-
gled. But because oftheir reliance
on large, gas-guzzling cars and
SUVs, Detroit's automakers were
hit hardest, which demonstrated
the importance of new technolo-
gies like the HCCI engine.
Fansler, the GM engineer, said

the University's expertise in engine
systems analysis will be crucial to
the development of alternative sys-
tems like electric fuel cells, which
many industry analysts expect to
become standard for many cars in
the near future. Advances like fuel
cells will help GM fill the technol-
ogy "pipeline" it will need to thrive
in the 21st century, Fansler said.
"We have to-do that, or we might
survive a little longer and find our-
selves in a similar fix a little farther
down the road," he said.
With GM banking much of its
future on the success of the all-
electric Chevrolet Volt, scheduled
to launch in 2010, the University's
importance as a research partner
has grown.
The University's Collaborative
Research Laboratory in Advanced
Vehicle Manufacturing, led by
Mechanical Engineering Prof. Jack
Hu, has begun researching assem-
bly processes for the batteries GM
plans to use in the Volt.
And last week atthe North Amer-
ican International Auto Show in
Detroit, GM extended its research
relationship with the University by
announcing plans for a five-year, $5
million joint program to research

batteries for electric vehicles.
The GM/UM Advanced Battery
Coalition for Drivetrains, led by
Mechanical Engineering Prof. Ann
Marie Sastry, will perform experi-
ments and simulations to help devel-
op the lithium-ion batteries being
developed for vehicles like the Volt.
Late last year, theUniversity and GM
announced plans to enroll 50 GM
engineers in Sastry's master's pro-
gram in energy systemsresearch.
Weinert, who is also director of
corporate and government relations
for the University's College of Engi-
neering, said these technologies -
developed in part at the University
- offer the domestic auto industry a
chance to turn the corner.
"Clearly, with what's happening
in the auto industry and what's hap-
pening with global climate change
and the energy challenges of the
country, everyone would agree that
electrification of the automobile
is a path that needs to be pursued,
and pursued rapidly," Weinert said.
"This work, for that very reason,
is potentially transformational to
this 100-plus-year-old industry. It's
an inflection point. We haven't had
many of those in the industry's his-
tory, but we're at one right now."

TALKING
POINTS
Three things you can talk about this week:
1. Closing Guantanamo Bay
2. Obama's first week
3. Jong Un II
And three things you can't:
1. Norovirus
2. Boy George drama
3. Joaquin Phoenix's rap career

"I feared for my life most of the time."
- JESTINA MUKOKO, a woman who leads the Zimbabwe Peace Project, on her kidnapping, deten-
tion and torture for three weeks by agents of the state. Mukoko was accused of plotting against the
government of President Robert Mugabe, the ruthless dictator notorious for stifling any opposition

QUOTES OF THE WEEK
"It was a bunch of death
I noticed the New York threats and of people say-
skyline getting closer and ing, you know, I'm going to
closer." come over and kill you, and
- DAVE SANDERSON, a 47-year-old man stuff like that."
Sfrnm Charlott whn ba dhar the U S Air-

e1IItralL, wno was auuoa re u, /ir-
ways plane that blew out both engines and had
to make an emergency landing in the Hudson
River on Thursday. All 150 passengers
and five crew members survived.

- MCKAY HATCH, a 15-year-old boy from Pasa-
dena, Cal., on the 22,000 threatening e-mails he
has received since he started a nationwide "No
Cussing Club" to encourage less profanity in public

Y.OUTU BE
VIDEO OF
THE WEEK
Job interviewing 101
Although the prospects certainly
look grim right now, it's a safe bet
that most students here will someday
have a job interview. In order to pre-
pare, you could always use the Career
Center as a resource. You could also
watch this video.
While waitingtobe called in forhis
interview, Ben Schwartz is engrossed
in the kid's magazine "Zoobooks."
An assistant lets Schwartz know that
Meredith is ready to see him, but
Schwartz says he isn't quite ready.
As Schwartz follows the assistant
through the hall, he suggests they
grab dinner sometime. Scornful and
impatient, the assistant scoffs, "No, I
don't think so." Schwartz then asks
for her name and tries to slip money
into her jacket pocket. She disgust-.
edly pushes him away from her.
Now comes the interview. Mere-
dith starts by asking Schwartz about
his job experience. "So what is Omni-
core?" she says. "Isn't Omnicore the
name of the company from that
movie, 'Eobocop' ?" "Oh, so you've
seen the movie," Schwartz says,
sounding surprised. Meredith then
asks about another one of Schwartz's
employers, called "Skynet." Which
Meredith identifies as being from
"The Terminator." "Ahh, you see a lot
of movies," Schwartz says.
He ends by asking her out to din-
ner and then offeringher money.
-BRIAN TENGEL
See this and other
YouTube videos ofthe week at
youtube.com/user/michigandaily

BY THE NUMBERS
Number of National Guard troops on duty for Barack Obama's
inauguration
Number of law-enforcement officers on duty for the inauguration
Number of people who attended inaugural events in Washington, D.C.
Source: Bloomberg News

THEME PARTY SUGGESTION
A winter remedy - Yeah, we know it's cold. On
your dreadful walks to class, you've probably often
regretted the fact that you left in the first place.
Well, it's time to stop griping and take action. Go
to Meijer and stock up on the necessary goods: a
month's worth of microwave meals, whiskey and
coffee. Find studious friends to take notes for you in
lecture, and don't bother with discussion sections.
It'll be spring before you know it.
Throwing this party? Let us know. TheStatement@umich.edu
STUDY OF THE WEEK
Coffee consumption can reduce
some oral cancers
Drinking coffee can reduce the risk of getting cancer in the oral
cavity or throat, according to a study recently published in the Amer-
ican Journal of Epidemiology by researchers at Tohoku University,
Sendei, in Japan.
In the study, the researchers examined data from the Miyagi
Cohort Study in Japan, analyzing more than 38,000 people aged 40
to 64 years old with no previous experience with cancer. In particu-
lar, the researchers looked at participants' diets, including their cof-
fee consumption.
After 13 years of close observation, the researchers found that of
the 38,000 participants, 157 people developed cancer of the mouth,
pharynx and esophagus. Then, they discovered that compared with
people who didn't drink coffee, those who consumed one or more
cups per day proved to be half as likely to develop these oral cancers.
BRIAN TENGEL

READ-ER-
Vote for the Best of Ann Arbor
before January 23 on our web site.
michigandaily.com/aabest

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