March 2017
Welcome to your new monthly Kettering University newsletter
Whether it is alumni shaping the world around us as entrepreneurs, innovators and global industry leaders, faculty creating solutions to grand challenges through meaningful applied research being conducted in our labs or students putting their science and engineering skills to use improving their communities, one thing is certain: the Kettering University community is filled with newsmakers.

Welcome to the first issue of Determination, our new monthly e-publication dedicated to keeping you informed about all of the incredible things Kettering University's graduates, students, faculty and staff achieve. Look for Determination to arrive in your inbox on the first Thursday of every month and feel free to stay up-to-date by reading each week. We welcome story ideas as well -- submit them by emailing

We hope you enjoy! And, if you are interested in visiting campus to see the exciting changes and transformation occurring here, please feel free to visit or email

Design work of John Perkins '64 on display at Kettering University
John Perkins '64 always knew he wanted to design cars for a living. He began drawing cars at 5 years old growing up in Lansing, Michigan.

The subject of cars was a family matter. His father and uncle both had careers at Oldsmobile in Lansing.

"I was an Oldsmobile kid," said Perkins, who retired from GM in 1999 after 37 years in automotive design with General Motors (GM). "Everyone we knew in Lansing worked at Oldsmobile or Fisher Body."

Perkins' father rose through the ranks at Oldsmobile to become the Chief Chassis Engineer while his uncle became Chief Body Engineer. His dad would often bring new prototype vehicles home for testing.

"Like a lot of little boys, I just loved cars. Cars were just in my blood," Perkins said. "Even in my teenage years, I just kept drawing. I would be inside drawing cars while the other kids were playing outside."

Graduate makes Forbes '30 Under 30'
Kettering experience foundational for CFO
Kayla McDonell '12 prides herself on working hard and learning the most she can from every job and opportunity. And her bosses at General Motors (GM) took notice.

Forbes Magazine also saw McDonell's potential when she was recently included in  Forbes' 30 Under 30 Class of 2017.

Chuck Stevens '83 describes his Kettering University (then General Motors Institute) experience as foundational for two reasons. One, it provided him with a rigorous and exemplary education. Secondly, at just 23 years old, he was able to get a broad view of the auto industry at his co-op at General Motors (GM) Buick Motor Division in Flint, Michigan.

"I'm still proud about having gone to Kettering. It unearthed a deep-down bent for minutia, refined it, and gave it serious firepower."

Graduates jump into adventure with military careers

Ross '09 and Keely Bosn '10 didn't want an ordinary life in an office. After studying Mechanical Engineering at Kettering University they both chose a life of adventure and challenge.

On the day of his commencement, Ross also had his Commissioning Ceremony for the U.S. Marine Corps. After graduating from Kettering, Keely joined the U.S. Navy. They were married Dec. 27, 2010 and their life has been an exciting journey ever since.
Automotive DNA is about to drastically change

For the first time in a century, there is an opportunity to completely change the design DNA of the automobile and Larry Burns '75 has a vision for the future of mobility.

"A digital revolution, new materials and energy innovation are coming all at once. It's no longer a question of whether, but one of when our 130-year-old mobility system transforms," Burns said. "Connected vehicles are already prevalent and driverless car technology could be proven in a few years. We've entered into a once-in-a-century opportunity to transform our mobility and it's happening quicker than people thought it would."

Passion for people drives graduate
Graduate learned to challenge herself at Kettering
From the first time he stepped into an automotive plant, Byron Green '86 hasn't changed his reason for getting into manufacturing -- the people. Green, now Vice President of Manufacturing for the North American Region at Whirlpool Corporation, said even though the scope of his job has changed, his passion for people hasn't.

Kirsten Billhardt '96 took a risk when mid career she switched from the auto industry to technology. But she's never regretted it and never looked back.

Now the Marketing Director for the Internet of Things for Dell, Billhardt enjoys the challenge of the constant changing world of technology.


SAE at the DAC, April 4


Major Sobey Memorial Golf Outing, June 10

Commencement, June 17

" On average, graduates of lesser-known engineering colleges such as Kettering University and the Stevens Institute of Technology do just as well as those from the Ivy League."

  • Electric, autonomy the future of vehicles, but how soon? | WOOD TV
  • The road to self-driving cars begins in Flint | WDET Detroit
  • Flint's Kettering U pushes to complete autonomous research facility | WKAR Lansing
  • Ford, Kettering partner for camp | MLive
  • Flint will have a role in autonomous vehicle development | ABC 12

Student carving out career in aerospace
There was something about building an airplane that changed everything for Lee Luckhardt '18.  The challenge, the environment and the accomplishment. It all made Luckhardt change his future career choice. 

Luckhardt always knew he wanted to go into engineering, but when he participated in GAMA's build a plane competition and spent two weeks at Glasair Aviation in Arlington, Washington, building a Glasair Sportsman when he was in high school he knew the aerospace industry was his dream career.

"It opened up my eyes to what the industry was like," said Luckhardt, who is majoring in Mechanical Engineering and Engineering Physics. "In the aerospace industry everyone loves their jobs. Everyone loves coming to work. Airplanes are fun and challenging to build. I love a good challenge."
Undergraduate research helps student expand skillset

Jason Chapman '17 will walk out of Kettering University with skills he didn't know he would get as an undergraduate student.  Even though Chapman was a Mechanical Engineering major, he learned how to properly conduct X-Ray Diffraction, design research methods, handle chemicals safely and more Chemistry and Physics principles than he thought he would.

It was all thanks to his involvement in an undergraduate research opportunity with Dr. Uma Ramabadran in the Physics department.
Model U.N. team participates in Chicago conference

The Kettering University Model United Nations (KMUN) team had an impressive showing at the annual American Model United Nations International Conference from November 19-22 in Chicago. This year, Kettering's delegation represented the country of Egypt on a wide array of global issues such as the situation in Aleppo and historical crisis simulations.

DECA team impresses at conference

Kettering University's DECA team showed up in record numbers at the 2017 Michigan Collegiate DECA Career Development Conference.  A total of 32 Kettering students competed at the conference, which took place Feb. 3-5 in Grand Rapids, and 30 placed and are eligible to continue on to the DECA International Career Development Conference in California in April.

"As parents, we saw our son go from a child to a young man quickly. He learned to be self-sufficient, confident and competent while attending Kettering University. The opportunities for personal growth are endless."


Founding dean named
Fuel efficiency research
Kettering University has named Dr. Laura Vosejpka as the Dean of the College of Sciences and Liberal Arts and Professor of the Practice in the Department of Chemistry. Dr. Vosejpka serves as the founding dean of the newly established college.

In her new role at Kettering, Vosejpka will oversee the Departments of Biology, Chemistry and Biochemistry, Chemical Engineering Computer Science, Liberal Studies, Mathematics and Physics.

Dr. Bassem Ramadan, Mechanical Engineering department head, began a partnership with Eaton, which has an advanced technology campus located in Southfield, Michigan, in 2013.

With the help of grants from the Department of Energy, Ramadan, Kettering graduate research assistants and Eaton engineers, have been researching how to design an efficient expander that can extract mechanical energy from various inlet boundary conditions.

Faculty member launches podcast
Faculty help start Montessori school
Dr. Jim Cohen, Professor of Applied Biology at Kettering University, is showcasing an often-overlooked aspect of Flint - its rich and diverse urban botanical wonders, through a locally produced podcast titled "Flint Flora."

"I wanted to start podcasting because it's a great medium for reaching people," Cohen said. "My hope is that teachers, especially those in Flint and Genesee County, will use the podcast to help students better understand the local flora."

Current Kettering University professor Dr. Benjamin Pauli and former Kettering professor Dr. Vivian Kao have been instrumental in starting a Montessori program at Durant Tuuri-Mott (DTM) Elementary School in Flint over the past two years.

Kao, Pauli and the other members of the community group, Public Montessori for Flint, pushed for the addition of the program through Flint Community Schools to help diversify educational offerings in the community.

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