Meet Wayne State's ASHLEY JONES STEAM Sports Foundation Scholarship Recipient
College: Wayne State University
Hometown: Livonia, MI
Major: Mechanical Engineering
Major Influence: Mother
Personal Car: Ford Bronco
1) Hybrid cars 50%; EVs 20%
2) Autonomous option for highway driving
3) Everything will be touchscreen
What I do for Fun:
Watch Movies, Listen to Music
Walk my dogs, Drive!
How did you get so interested in cars/the auto industry?
My passion for cars all started when I was brought home from the hospital in a Ford Mustang.
So, when did it get serious for you?
In high school, my love of science along with my love of cars led me to take classes in high school such as Small Engines, Intro to Drafting, and Automotive Technology. During the past 2 school years, I have worked part time for Performance Driven Workforce as a driver for Ford’s Voice of the Customer Fleet. My job is to evaluate vehicles and to find issues that need to be fixed before new vehicle launch. I’ve driven Broncos, electric Transits, F-150s, and more. I really love knowing that my job helps prevent customers from experiences issues with their new vehicles. This summer, I am in my second internship with Ford Motor Company in Vehicle Evaluation & Verification.
Who was your biggest influence growing up?
My mom is an engineer and has worked at Ford Motor Company my whole life. When I was a little girl, she would order science books, like those about weather and trains, from the Scholastic book order. I would tell people I wanted to be a mechanic and my mom encouraged that.
To give me a taste of the auto industry, my mom would take me to bring-your-child-to-work day at Ford each year where I learned about cars and different careers. My mom encouraged me to take Small Engines and Automotive Technology at the Career center in high school to pursue my interests. She also helped me find the Ford High School Science & Technology program, where I met people who would answer all my questions about the industry. This also led to my first internship. Throughout my schooling, she has helped me with my STEM classes and studying. She is my biggest supporter.
Describe your experience at Wayne State so far.
Wayne State has been good so far. I like the class sizes and the school work is manageable. I really like living in a big city because there are lots of things to do.
What’s been the toughest part so far?
Keeping up with homework and tests for multiple classes at the same time. Sometimes I would have 3 tests in one day.
What automotive aspect interests you most?
Testing and vehicle features in Product Development. My long-term goal is to use my STEM education and vehicle experience to help produce vehicles with innovative features that have high quality. My experiences with my driving job and my internships at Ford Motor Company have shown me how important vehicle testing and evaluation can be to ensure vehicle quality.
Engineers work very hard to identify the customer requirements and design features to meet those. However, there are customer usages that engineers don’t anticipate and thus didn’t design around. Those noise factors make feature testing and in-vehicle testing critical steps to ensure issues are caught and fixed before launch.
What would you like to do when you graduate?
When I graduate in May 2024 with my bachelor’s in Mechanical Engineering, my goal is to get a permanent job in Ford or another automotive company in Product Development.
Talk about your enjoyment of motorsports.
When I was a little girl, I loved watching all the Herbie movies. One of my childhood friends is a driver in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, which I think is really cool.
How do you approach the challenges of being a minority engineering student in what has been traditionally a non-minority career path?
I just have an open mind. I know I’m going to stand out. Although I go to a diverse school, the engineering classes have very few female minorities.
Prediction about the auto industry 10 years from now.
My prediction is that new vehicles will be mostly hybrid (~50%) with some battery electric (~20%). I think there will still be gas engine vehicles (~30%) because some people will not be able to afford the hybrid and electric vehicles. I think most new vehicles will offer autonomous for highway driving and everything will be touch screen.
Tell us a little bit about the personal side of Ashley Jones. What do you like to do for fun? To relax?
I like to watch movies, listen to music, walk my dogs, and drive.
What do you personally drive?
A Bronco Sport
About STEAM Sports Foundation
Recognizing workforce and economic development as integral parts of corporate growth, STEAM Sports Foundation works with companies, educators and sports groups to develop initiatives around science, technology, engineering, arts and math that impact the world of sports and entertainment. The foundation’s focus is on scholarships and career summits in an effort to help create tomorrow’s vibrant workforce. Its “Women of Color” scholarship program in automotive/motorsports engineering provides diversity to a transportation industry that is ever-changing via innovation and technology with individuals who traditionally did not consider these career paths simply because they saw few who looked like them in the industry. The foundation is located in Alpharetta, GA. Bob Dickinson is founder and executive director.
Donations can be made via PayPal. ACH transfers are available. Benevity registered.