As a nation, it is imperative that we make science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education a top priority to address the national STEM workforce shortage and to remain competitive in the 21st century economy. A constant supply of well-trained STEM workers is essential to meeting the goals of finding ways to multiply the impact of investments, supporting organizations that assist underserved populations and use technology in innovative ways to scale their reach to more people.
The Future of Electric Mobility:
Volkswagen’s North American Market
Engineers from regional corporations, agencies, universities, schools, and professional associations, came together to kick off Engineers Week 2017 at The Chattanoogan conference center. Planning for the future was the theme of the Kick-Off Lunch featuring Dr. Burkhard Huhnke, Senior Vice President of e-mobility at Volkswagen America, Inc. Chattanooga is home to Volkswagen’s USA manufacturing plant and it was fitting that Dr. Huhnke shared Volkswagen’s transformation into the era of digitalization. Dr. Huhnke initiated and implemented Europe’s largest test laboratory for automative battery packages and components, worked on Volkswagen’s e-traction projects, e-Golf and e-Up, and currently oversees the product line of Volkswagen’s electrical cars in North American.
Hunke launched e-week 2017 with his presentation, “The Future of Electric Mobility: Volkswagen’s North American Market.” He explained that Electric Mobility combines electrical driving with connectivity and is how transportation and mobility are evolving. Volkswagen is changing and has already launched electric cars. The next generation of VW cars will revamp the entire company as it reflects and adjusts for societal changes.
As Hunke outlined those societal changes, the audience nodded and smiled in understanding and agreement.
1. We are always online. For drivers, this can be dangerous. The fatality numbers on the road are rising. We have to ensure that that distracted driving doesn’t continue.
2. Digitization increasingly connects everything. Transportation is adjusting as companies like Uber emerge and edge out traditional models.
3. Entrepreneurship generates new competitors, such as Tesla, that bring into the market with electronic cars and autonomous driving to the market and widespread public use.
The future that is emerging includes alternative transportation possibilities that will challenge us physically and emotionally. Will we continue to own our own cars? Will we share car ownership? Will drones provide public transportation? Going forward, engineers will be needed to work through all of these challenges and changes.
Volkswagen’s goal is to position itself as the driving force behind electrical mobility. Starting in 2020, Volkswagen will launch a new family of electric cars. By 2025, VW expects to sell one million electric cars. This means a new architecture for the cars: no combustion engines and no plug-in hybrids. It requires getting the internet into the car.
The new Mobility-Service-Eco-System Cars will have a fast-charging battery with a large range. These new batteries will be flat, simple, scalable, and inexpensive. The design gives the extra space back to the driver.
As intelligence is integrated into the car, its features will be continually updated. The e-platform will launch features automatically and integrate users demands and choices. Volkswagen is now researching how to make the design user-friendly across multiple cultures. An understanding of cultural differences is part of making the intelligence applicable whether in New York, Paris, or China.
There will be a shift in the business model to get in front of the consumer more efficiently. Traditionally, the manufacturer and the car dealers partnered in the sale of the cars. In the future, there will be new opportunities, new business players, and new revenue streams, including subscription services. Accommodating customers request for full connectivity through their internet access, the cars will provide fresh software, new features, updates, and the latest apps. Tomorrow’s cars will be “smart devices on wheels.”
One of Hunke’s goals and of the e-week events is to inspire young people to become the engineers of the future. With academic colleagues, Dr. Huhnke initiated the Volkswagen Innovation Center (VAIL) at the Stanford University Campus. He was the project leader for the autonomous car Volkswagen Passat Junior, participating in the Pikes Peak hill climbing driverless Audi TTS. Currently, he is a member of the Board of Advisors at the College of Engineering and Computer Science at the U of TN Chattanooga (CECS at UTC).
E-week’s connection to education and young people was highlighted at the conclusion of this kick-off event by featuring the presentation of scholarship funding by Chattanoogan companies and organizations to local education institutions. Later in the week, Lulu Copeland, Chattanooga E Week committee coordinator and Executive Director, Economic & Workforce Development at Chattanooga State Community College, planned STEM Girls Day on her campus. The program reflects ongoing efforts to involve young women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.
The STEM Girls Day and all the organizations involved in E Week, from corporations like Volkswagen to civic groups such as the International Business Council of the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce, illustrate how a small Southern City can be at the forefront of our innovative future.
Ada Lovelace (1815-1852)
Ada Lovelace was an English mathematician and the writer of the first published computer program. She was originally named Augusta Ada Byron and was the daughter of the famous poet, Lord Byron, and his wife, Annabella. In 1835, Ada married William King, ten years her senior, and when King inherited a noble title in 1838, they became the Earl and Countess of Lovelace. Most women in her position at that time were not encouraged in their education or intellect. Known as “the first programmer,” Ada was assisted in her learned by a mathematician-logician, Augustus De Morgan, who taught Mathematics at the University of London.
While working for an English mathematician, Charles Babbage, Ada developed an interest in his machines which later proved to be the forerunners of the modern computer. In 1843, Ada succeeded in translating and annotating an article written by mathematician Luigi Federico Menabrea on one of Babbage’s machines. Using what she called, “Poetical Science”, Ada also made detailed description of how an “Analytical Machine” could be programmed to calculate a sequence of rational numbers. Babbage referred to Ada as an “enchantress of numbers.” Today the Ada computer programming language developed in the 1980s for the U.S. Department of Defense is named in her honor.
Ada Lovelace is one of the biographies in the STEM Women Study Guide. The Guide is a classroom tool that encourages & educates women in Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics (STEM)
The Spiral Notebook, including discussion questions, was created in coordination with womengroundbreakers.com
Special thanks for their support of the project:
Platinum Sponsors: Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce, Humanities Tennessee
Gold Sponsors: American Diversity Report, Chattanooga Writers Guild, EPB Fiber Optics, excellerate!, Million Women Mentors, Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Foundation, Southern Adventist University, The HR Shop, ThreeTwelve Creative, UTC College of Engineering and Computer Science, Volkswagen Chattanooga.
Special Thanks Southern Adventist University Intern Abigail White
The room was packed at the College of Engineering and Computer Science (CECS) as faculty, students, and graduates gathered to celebrate the life of one of their own and mourn his passing. Dr. Francis Joseph Jones (1951-2016) was a UC Foundation Professor and the Chemical Program Coordinator at CECS at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. The CECS memorial was like an old-fashioned wake with shared stories and heartfelt testimonials for the man that colleagues and family knew as “Frank.”
Back in 1969, when the University of Chattanooga merged with the University of Tennessee system and became the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC), the school of engineering became the College of Engineering. The college has consistently reflected the changing nature of STEM education (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics). Absorbing computer science in the late 1980s, the college morphed into the College of Engineering and Computer Science (CECS). Separate departments gradually emerged: Mechanical and Electrical Engineering, followed by Civil and Chemical Engineering. The UTC Engineering Management and Graduate Programs developed into the Engineering Management and Technology department, and Dr. Ed McMahon became one of its chief innovators.
Women GroundBreakers Storytelling
The push to attract women to STEM education and careers is gaining steam, but the impact is questionable. Young women have ample cause to be discouraged given the decrease of the number of women professionals in many STEM fields. Bucking the trend, efforts to encourage women to embrace STEM have increased dramatically. Those efforts span the country, including in Tennessee where Chattanooga’s Women GroundBreakers Storytelling featuring women in STEM.
The Independent Television Service (ITVS) is a global asset for women and girls. ITVS supports a dynamic field of independent media makers whose programs creatively engage audiences, expand cultural awareness and catalyze civic participation. Filmmakers from around the world came to ITVS with incredible stories about women and girls. Using a holistic approach, ITVS created Women and Girls Lead, a multi-year initiative with documentaries about women and girls. After launching the domestic initiative, the project went global. Combining the expertise in international broadcasting, storytelling, and on-the-ground knowledge of its partners: USAID, the Ford Foundation, and CARE, ITVS recently launched Women and Girls Lead Global.
I was born in Istanbul, Turkey. My father was a retired Turkish naval officer and I grew up on naval bases. My family sacrificed to educate me and my brother who is a medical doctor. Without an education, you can’t do anything. In Turkey, they kill each other to get a college degree. I attended elementary school early and learned to read early, a rarity in Turkey. These were French schools, and I spoke French before I spoke English.
I am of Black Caribbean, Dutch, French, and British heritage. I was born on the Dutch island of Aruba, and grew up on the Island of St. Lucia in Franco-British West Indies. I emigrated to the United States at the age of 19 years. I was inspired to go into my STEM field by Dr. C.P Shim who was the professor in an introductory psychology course that I took my sophomore year in college. Determined to be a biologist in general and in particular, a proto-zoologist, Dr. Shim opened up the field of human behavior and mental processes in a way that resonated with some longing for service and knowledge deep in my spirit.
I often refer to myself as “bi-cultural” as I was born and raised between two very distinct cultural landscapes, southern America and the British West Indies. Chattanooga TN is my place of birth, and I was raised between there and my island home of Anguilla B.W.I. My father is West Indian and my mother is American of African and Cherokee descent. The dual identity has given me many growing pains finding an identity of my own, but I am proud of the rich cultures combined within me. When I moved back to the US in high school, people would often ask what my “race” was. It was difficult to explain, so being the marketer that I am, I quickly adopted a slogan for myself; “the perfect mix: an Indian, American, Caribbean chick.”