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Interdisciplinary Engineering Annual Colloquium Presents "Bumper to Bumper Engineering: Multidisciplinary Engineering in the Automotive Industry"

Author: Teresa Walker, Engineering Education
Event Date: January 16, 2020
Time: 3:30 - 4:20 PM
Location: The Neil Armstrong Hall of Engineering (ARMS) Kurz Atrium
Contact Name: Teresa Walker
Contact Phone: (765) 494-9391
Contact Email:
Open To: Public
Priority: Yes
School or Program: Engineering Education
College Calendar: Show
This year's panel are all recent alumni/ae with two things in common - they are graduates of the Multidisciplinary Engineering program (MDE), in the automotive industry, engineering the future of transportation bumper to bumper.

In this panel discussion, we will learn about the roles MDE alumni fill in the safe and high-performance vehicle development we see in the market place of  today and beyond. Moderated by their former professor and mentor Dr. Mary Pilotte, Director of Engineering Education Undergraduate Degree Programs, we will explore the beneficial skill set, professional choices, and lessons learned for those with job responsibilities of acoustical engineers who manage sound control,  internal and external vehicle functionality addressed by visual design engineers, and how leadership roles working with the top automotive manufacturing and distribution centers deliver excellent results with general engineering alumni/ae. 

Meet Our Panelists


Kalena Isaacson, '15 MDE, grew up across the street from the #GeneralMotors Technical Center in Warren, Michigan and has been immersed in the automotive industry her whole life. Although she started in Mechanical Engineering at Purdue, she soon found that Multidisciplinary Engineering was a much more ideal fit. While studying, she was involved in Epics for many years, working with the Colombian Park Zoo to deliver and improve educational and animal enrichment projects. She spent time outside of class keeping active at the Co-Rec and winning multiple championships in Intramural Floor Hockey. She worked at Wiley Dining Court, eventually leading the student team as the Student Manager. She also met her now-husband in the ME elective class "How Stuff Works." Before graduating from Purdue, she was offered the opportunity to start her career at the GM Tech Center as a steering design release engineer for full-size trucks and SUVs. She enthusiastically accepted the offer to become a third-generation GM employee, and has continued growing as an engineer, working with the GM team to "design, build, and sell the World's Best Vehicles".

Maria Krutikova, '16 MDE, is a Design Engineer for the middleweight platform at Harley-Davidson Motor Company. Working in a multidisciplinary team, she is design responsible for the radiator, passenger grab handles and skid plate for the   Harley-Davidson® Pan America™ and Harley-Davidson® Bronx™, as well as future models. After graduation, Maria moved to Milwaukee, WI to start her career with Harley-Davidson Motor Company as an Associate Design Engineer in Parts & Accessories, as a product line specialist in windshields & air deflectors. She was promoted to her current role in December 2018. Her favorite parts of her job are using CAE analysis tools (CFD, FEA) to evaluate design performance against technical requirements, attending hot test trips for data acquisition, and of course, test riding motorcycles. She attributes her time with the Purdue Formula SAE team as her most invaluable college experience, along with the flexibility of the Multidisciplinary Engineering curriculum to study courses related to her automotive and product development interests.

Alex Offenbach, '16 MDE, attended his first Indy 500 when he was 13 years old. He had always been mechanically minded, but from the moment the cars screamed by for the first time he set his sights on one day being a part of that race. There was never a doubt in his mind when he was accepted to Purdue that it was the place for him due to its engineering prestige and its deep ties to the Indy 500. Due to the unique nature of the MDE program, he quickly found an incredible home with us. After graduation, he was able to continue chasing his dreams working for the company that designs and certifies all of Indycar's race tracks. The following year he was able to join Andretti Autosport, who at the time was the defending champion of the previous two Indy 500's. Alex was able to complete his goal of being a part of the Indy 500 and won both the Indy Lights drivers and teams championship with who of Indycar's rising stars. He now works as a Damper Specialist for Colton Herta's car, where last season as a team they achieved 2 wins, 3 poles, including smashing the record for Indycar's youngest ever race winner.

The colloquium is open to the general public. The panel discussion is now archived (see above) for on-demand viewing. We encourage attendance of students and faculty interested in the skills desired for the automotive industry as well as experiences for recently transitioned engineers from Purdue to industry.