EAST LANSING — The Lake Forest, Ill. auto parts maker Tenneco donated nearly $300,000 to the Michigan State University CoRe Experience program, designed to engage first-year engineering students in experience-based learning opportunities inside and outside of the classroom.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony and dedication celebrated the partnership on Friday, Oct. 14, at MSU’s East Wilson Hall, where Tenneco sponsored the renovation of the fifth floor lobby as a workspace for students to gather and collaborate on projects, activities, and networking.
MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon, Tenneco’s chief operating officer Brian Kesseler, College of Engineering Dean Leo Kempel, and other College of Engineering and Tenneco team members gathered to dedicate the new fifth floor lobby.
“Our support of this initiative is driven by Tenneco’s commitment to engage and develop future talent and prepare them for cross-disciplinary functions within an organization like ours,” said Brian Kesseler, Tenneco COO. “We look forward to growing our partnership with MSU to ensure that students have the resources and opportunities that will give them a strong foundation for an engineering career.”
Kempel thanked Tenneco for the gift and the support it will provide CoRe students.
“As a global leader in automotive technology, Tenneco’s interest in and support of our students will help them become the professionals we need to tackle the world’s transportation challenges,” Kempel said. “Tenneco and MSU are a good match to guide future Spartan Engineers into creative solutions that reflect their passion for performance and efficiency.”
In the past year, Tenneco has sponsored first-year design courses and led four senior capstone mechanical engineering projects. Additionally, Tenneco is collaborating with the University and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) on an advanced combustion research program for undergraduate and graduate engineering students from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) designed to seek solutions to reduce fuel consumption, greenhouse gas (GHG) and criteria pollutant emissions.
The CoRe Program integrates first-year engineering academics with an engineering living-learning community to support the academic, professional, and personal growth of first-year engineering students. Tenneco’s contribution will support CoRe as it engages more than 1,700 students in hands-on design projects to discover how to function in a collaborative, team-based, diverse setting and show the importance of engineering as well as the positive impact engineers have on a society.
Among the students celebrating with Tenneco on Friday was Stephanie Close, a junior in mechanical engineering from Sterling Heights. Close was a summer intern for Tenneco in Jackson and continues to work for the company one day a week in its Jackson plant.
Close works with an aftermarket team that designs exhaust car parts for Tenneco.
“I didn’t know much about cars when I started with Tenneco,” she said. “They taught me everything I need to know. They have been really helpful. I had a lot of questions, and I really enjoy the atmosphere.”
Close hopes to work in the automobile industry when she graduates from Michigan State. “I enjoy designing and am interested in continuing to explore my career options. This is such a great opportunity for me.”
She encourages other women students who are interested in math and science to take a look at engineering. “Engineering is do-able,” she said. “I am having a great experience – you should give it a try.”
Tenneco is an $8.2 billion global manufacturing company with approximately 30,000 employees worldwide. Tenneco is one of the world’s largest designers, manufacturers and marketers of clean air and ride performance products and systems for automotive and commercial vehicle original equipment markets and the aftermarket. Tenneco’s principal brand names are Monroe, Walker, XNOx and CleviteElastomer.
The Michigan State University College of Engineering has nine academic programs serving more than 5,400 undergraduate and 800 graduate students. The college’s research focus is on innovation in automotive, composite materials, energy, health care technologies, pavement preservation, and security. The college is the home of two new academic departments — the Department of Biomedical Engineering and the Department of Computational Mathematics, Science and Engineering and a partner in MSU’s new Institute for Quantitative Health Science and Engineering. A new $60 million Bio Engineering Facility offers interdisciplinary basic and applied research at the interface of life and physical sciences, engineering, information science, and math.