Peyton Schmid, a junior at Oakland University, was recently named one of the ten nationwide recipients of the prestigious Ford Alan Mulally Scholarship in engineering.
The Alan Mulally Scholarship, named after the former Ford Motor Company CEO, annually provides $10,000 to only ten students around the world who best demonstrate leadership in the engineering field.
“I was completely in shock and may have shed a tear or two,” Schmid said. “Being recognized by Ford in such a way and becoming part of the Blue Oval Scholars program is something I never thought would happen to me in my wildest dreams.”
Schmid is currently majoring in electrical engineering at OU with her career aspirations in the automotive industry. According to Schmid, having a dad who is a mechanic has led her to the engineering path. Along her academic path, her experience as an apprentice mechanic and her aptitude for the field have driven her to have the goal to be an engineer that will innovate the industry through further implementation of electric vehicles.
Aside from academics, she is also involved in a variety of activities on and off campus. Schmid explained having leadership experiences — being a resident assistant, teaching assistant, executive board member in both the Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society and the Honors College Student Association — and previous career experience as an apprentice mechanic helped build her career.
As an aspiring engineer and a proponent for the environment, Schmid hopes to dedicate her career to research and improvement of current electric car systems. She would like to see electric vehicles implemented more in the market and limit the emissions of gas vehicles. She also believes the gradual phasing out of the internal combustion engine will help greatly in reducing mankind’s carbon footprint.
“Using my technical knowledge as well as some guidance, I was able to figure out a variety of issues with more ease each day and was able to do a lot on my own,” she said. “I think that my technical background will allow me to have a greater understanding [of] the function of the components I will be designing.”
She hopes this scholarship will allow her to stand out in her job search, and she is considering a career with the Ford Motor Company.
While many STEM fields — specifically the engineering field — are still male-dominated, Schmid thinks it is important that more female students are exposed to the fields at a younger age, which would help them figure out a specific path within the field.
Though engineering or other STEM field majors may sound intimidating to some students, Schmid said the students shouldn’t be scared because with hard work and passion, everything will work out in the end.
“Do your research on the field you’d like to go into and shoot for the stars,” Schmid said. “With hard work, I think anything is possible.”