Graduate ambassador spotlight: Mostafa Fereydoonian

The Graduate School is featuring eight students and their unique paths through higher education. The essay below is written by Mostafa Fereydoonian, a master's student in the electric-drive vehicle engineering program in the College of Engineering

I was born into a middle-class family with a winning ticket; because my parents are high school teachers, I knew about their high expectations for me and that became my good fortune. The instinct in our house was never to sit around lazy and wonder, but to try to be productive.

My interest in electricity began at the age of seven. I was given an electric toy car as a gift. After a while, I broke it down to satisfy my curiosity, to better understand how it worked. I found some pieces of wire, batteries and a small metallic cylindrical thing that rotates the wheels! I clearly remember the axle, brushes and magnets. How does this work? After looking closely, the answer flashed through my mind. I had already known that by looping wire around a steel bolt and energizing it by a battery, an electromagnet is created. I realized as winding energized the contacts, brushes and commutator, the poles attract to the magnet around the motor. This rotates the motor until the brushes contact a new set of commutators and this process is started again.

That little boy stood there, wide-eyed at a DC motor. “I cannot wait to make stuff like this,” I told myself. The experience at that moment was spectacular for me and turned out to be a turning point in my life. A year later, I made my first DC motor.

I earned a Bachelor of Science from the Power and Water University of Technology in Iran where I revisited my childhood passion for academia when I scored top marks in my electrical machines courses. After graduation, I looked for a full-time job in order to apply the knowledge gained so far and to finance my future education. I decided to join an engineering company. My duties were installation and commissioning of signaling systems in railway stations. After two years, my boss called me and offered a highly competitive position; “I want to recruit you as a project manager for a new project” he said. I believe that luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.

Despite everything, I had to look honestly at my motivations; for sure, I wanted to pursue my graduate studies. Like that lion in the jungle, my natural habitat was still in a laboratory. Therefore, I started my master’s at Wayne State University.

Actively living between the spaces of academia and industry have made me appreciate the necessary synergy between both worlds. Hands-on work experience along with my genuine interest in transportation electrification have convinced me that an R&D career in the domain of electro mobility is the wise decision. Due to the low efficiency of internal combustion engine vehicles and dependency on fossil fuels, our conventional transportation system is not sustainable. Therefore, I am passionate to become an R&D senior engineer in the automobile industry.

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