DETROIT — Father and daughter James and Stephanie Boileau have a lot in common, from receiving their engineering educations at the Wayne State University College of Engineering to their passion for imagining, designing and creating for the betterment of society.
With three degrees from Wayne State University, Ford Motor Co. engineer James has nearly 30 years of experience as a metallurgical engineering researcher and professional. As a third-year civil and environmental engineering student, Stephanie followed her father’s basic career path, but chose a different field of engineering.
“I knew from a very early age that I wasn’t meant to be a metallurgical engineer,” Stephanie said. “I did know, however, that engineering was something I wanted to pursue. I enjoy being outside. I enjoy the fact that I can build something and say, ‘I did that.’ Civil engineering gives you that on large scale. You can make sure everyone has a functional workplace and environment – and have a large impact on the greater good.”
Stephanie and James share this desire to have a positive impact through engineering.
“I’ve enjoyed my career as a metallurgical engineer,” said James, who, in addition to Stephanie, has three other daughters. “It’s given me great opportunities to make systems and products better. I’m glad, though, that Stephanie has followed her passions and chosen to pursue what interests her most.”
Both Stephanie and James attended Wayne State with the help of prestigious scholarships and both undoubtedly understand the importance of making the most of one’s time.
As a student, James was involved in a number of organizations, competitions, and social and charity events, as well as an intern at Chrysler and GE. Stephanie is a concrete canoe team member, vice president of the Wayne State chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers, and one of the youngest members of the Wayne State Transportation Research Group.
“Engineering is about getting involved,” Stephanie, a presidential scholar, said. “My involvement in student activities, competitions and organizations has given me real experience in analyzing and overcoming challenges. I believe that will help me immensely down the road in my career.”
As a member of the Transportation Research Group, Stephanie is working directly with expert faculty members on studies involving child safety seats, the value of rest stops, seatbelt use among truck drivers, downsizing urban thoroughfares and more.
James’ own doctoral research on longevity of aluminum components led to the formation of a software program that saves Ford approximately $5 million annually. His current research aims to reduce automotive weight and improve fuel economy through the use of lightweight materials in automotive components.
Stephanie hopes that years from now she’ll have a similarly inspiring story. Still uncertain as to her exact career path, she is excited to learn more about options in transportation and traffic engineering.
“Wayne State is a perfectly placed school for engineering,” she said. “It allows for a great amount of work and study by civil and other engineers. I’m glad to be here and look forward to taking more core curriculum classes next year, and to pursuing my master’s degree in transportation from Wayne State in the near future.”