Alice Mungyu ‘19
At four, Victoria Schein fell in love with cars and began reading any automotive car magazine she could get her hands on. From Claremont California, Victoria Schein graduated from Smith in May 2016 with a Bachelor of Science in Engineering and a minor in Studio Art. Schein started interning at Ford Motor Company in the summer of 2015 and officially started in June 2016 working in Dearborn, Michigan within the Product Development department as a Research Engineer. At 23, less than a year after beginning work at Ford, she holds nine patents related to a side project she completed during an internship at the Research and Innovation Center in Palo Alto.
Schein is currently in a program that puts graduates in a variety of rotations and job assignments during their first few years with the company – the Ford College Graduate Program. Now onto her second rotation, she is working on projects involving vehicle air quality, air quality sensors, air filtration, exploration of the science behind in-vehicle brought-in odors, detecting and mitigating odors in autonomous vehicles, new climate control technology and interior design concepts.
Today, you can find Victoria riding her bike to work in Dearborn, hopping on a shuttle, or catching a ride with friends. Victoria gets around without a car and wants to help change the way the world moves. Her patents are geared toward driver assist technologies. She created a Geotag device that when you press it, will alert you if certain hazards or accidents are in your path. Victoria wants to make distracted driving a thing of the past.
To this date, what have been some of your more important responsibilities?
I am developing a work plan to detect and mitigate odors in autonomous vehicles and researching the science behind in-vehicle brought-in odors, such as cigarette smoke, cosmetics/personal care products, body odors, pet odors and food odors. I am also working on a cabin air quality sensor and filtration project to provide more awareness to the user of a vehicle about air quality. Additionally, I am responsible for facilitating a variety of projects to help promote innovation within the work environment and inspire innovation through cross-functional teams.
What do you enjoy the most working at Ford?
I enjoy inventing with a passion and having the opportunity to expand my ideas. Four months into my internship at Ford, I told my supervisor about a new idea I came up with while I was riding my bike to work. He was very interested, and suggested that I submit the idea as an invention disclosure. In the following month, I ended up submitting 11 new ideas as invention disclosures during my internship – nine of those ideas became patent filings.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
I see myself working at Ford in Product Development for a Studio Design Team or in Research & Advanced Engineering. I hope to be involved in areas such as Car Design, Product Design, Connected Vehicles, Autonomous Vehicles or Mobility/Ride-Sharing Research. My goal in a future career is to go further in making Ford’s cars and people’s lives better through automotive and mobility solutions, while combining insight and behavior to help Ford drive innovation.
What is a highlight of your experience at Smith? Is there someone such as a professor or something that stood out?
The biggest highlight for me was doing several years of research in the Physics department with Professor Doreen Weinberger. She helped inspire me to learn new things every day and develop my strong work ethic. The research I was involved in was exciting and challenging. I was able to ultimately teach others about this research and share my experiences at conferences and with students and professors at Collaborations. I would recommend to all students at Smith to become involved in any type of research group or team based learning activities.
What advice would you give to students who are interested in this career path?
Never give up on your dreams and passions. There were many days in college where I wanted to quit and give up because of course load difficulty and lack of motivation, but I stayed focused on my career goals and was determined to become an Engineer in the Automotive Industry. Take part in as many activities and opportunities that you can in college and through internships – there are so many things that Smith and the college experience have to offer.