Ryan Cherniak '09
Major: Mechanical engineering
Company: General Motors
Title: Product Line Combustion Engineer
Field of Work: Engineering
What do you do?
I develop combustion systems for turbocharged gasoline engines and optimize them with single cylinder engine testing for vehicles that are about five years from production.
How did you become interested in your field?
I became interested in my field at a young age while spending time around cars with my grandfather. As I grew older, my passion for cars and science blended into a desire to become an automotive engineer.
What, if any, additional education (degree, discipline, institution) have you earned?
Master of Science in mechanical engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology.
What skills are vital for success in your field?
A deep understanding of combustion and thermal sciences is critical for success in my field. My undergraduate coursework in thermodynamics and heat transfer provided a solid foundation for my graduate studies in combustion. I also believe that a general curiosity and desire for continuous learning helps me adapt to new developments in my field.
What experiences, internships, study, or previous jobs helped you get to your current position?
As an undergraduate, I spent my summer breaks interning at Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, MD. These internships provided me with valuable work experience that helped me secure my first full-time job. I joined the Bosch corporation after graduate school and was able to work in four different locations including Stuttgart, Germany. My global work experience broadened my perspective both socially and in my professional life. My experiences in Germany have helped me in my career at General Motors, where I frequently interact with our German engineers at Opel.
What advice do you have for current students interested in your field?
I strongly recommend that current students reach out to campus recruitment representatives from large automotive companies. These companies hire large numbers of engineering interns and provide invaluable learning opportunities. It's important to provide concrete examples of both academic excellence and passion for engineering when applying for an internship.