Wiring Harness News May-Jun 2022 - Page 45

By Melissa Femia ___________________________

This edition of the series features Caitlin Feltner , a High Voltage Battery Development & Release Engineer in the BEV Hardware Group at Stellantis . Caitlin ’ s roots were in Novi , Michigan though her college experiences including scholastic internships took her to California , Iowa , North Dakota , and Indiana . She returned to Michigan post-college once she accepted a position with Stellantis .

Although Caitlin grew up in Novi , she attended Northville Public Schools . She is the middle child of three female siblings who all attended college in various fields . She pursued engineering while her older sister graduated in speech pathology . Her younger sister is currently attending college to be a teacher . While her parents are professionals , neither is involved in engineering . Her father is a medical doctor working as a pharmaceutical developer and her mother is an entrepreneurial attorney . Her parents inspired their children to read and innovate . Her parents also demonstrated hard-work ethic . Caitlin ’ s engineering story started out in 4th grade when she took a math test and scored well . The defining moment was not the ‘ A ’ that the teacher placed on the paper , but rather the note stating ‘ should be an engineer ’. From that point , Caitlin had other teachers who continued to encourage her through the years . As a high school freshman , she took an engineering design and drafting course . Later in 10th grade , she became involved in FIRST ( For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology ) robotics .
Caitlin knew she wanted to be an engineer during the collegiate application process , though she was uncertain about the discipline within engineering . She opted to enter college as an environmental engineer , which was a subset of Civil Engineering . She chose Purdue because it was highly ranked , affordable , research-intensive , and there were many project-based opportunities . She enjoyed team projects since having exposure to them during FIRST . Although the typical
engineering curriculum is 4-years , she attended Purdue for 4 ½ years so that she could experience additional internships .
Caitlin ’ s first internship was at a paint company during her freshmen year . She was a mechanical engineering intern working on paint processes . She focused on process improvements for paint systems and ovens at an automotive paint supply company working mostly with Audi and Ford vehicles . Pending that assignment , she decided to switch her major to Mechanical Engineering in her sophomore year . She spent time researching the types of jobs available for environmental majors versus mechanical majors and realized that she was most interested in the dynamics portion of mechanical engineering . After her sophomore year , she worked at the John Deere Global Crop Harvesting Product Development Center in Iowa . She was a quality engineering intern for prototype and experimental combines . She enjoyed the hands-on aspect of
the job since she was drawn to legos and other building projects during her early years . She had a second internship in Iowa with frequent development trips to North Dakota with John Deere after her junior year . She was in the Product Development Engineering Group , working again with combines . After that point , she realized that her interest level in agricultural equipment had weened and that she was more of a city girl rather than a rural personality .
For her next internship , Caitlin worked in California at Tesla . She worked within the electrical engineering area as a resident engineer . She was focused on the quality of wiring and sensing systems . She dealt with plant issues daily and really liked the fast-paced plant floor environment . As typical in manufacturing , there was always something that did not occur according to plan , and the need to focus attention utilizing problem-solving techniques was ever-present . Her adjective to describe the position was ‘ thrilling ’,
Melissa Femia
so there is no question that she really enjoyed both the assignment and the environment .
Outside of the internships , I asked Caitlin about her experiences at Purdue , especially in terms of being fe-
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