La Trobe engineering student wows BMW

A La Trobe University engineering student has impressed Germany’s best engineers after heading overseas to join BMW as part of the university’s technology push overseas.

Mitchell Ward spent eight months at automotive giant BMW’s Research and Innovation Headquarters in Munich as part of his fourth-year Bachelor Thesis project.

The 24-year-old joined a team helping to semi-automate testing systems for BMW cars, which included working on battery optimisation for electric vehicle power systems.

“With electric vehicles being the way of the future, it was great to be able to contribute in progressing BMW’s technology in this area,” Mitchell said.

“I was able to learn from the best in the industry at BMW and now my aim is to help improve the way research and innovation is carried out in Australia,”

La Trobe Engineering Senior Lecturer and Entrepreneur in Residence Dr Peter Moar said BMW was amazed at Mitchell’s performance, which far exceeded his initial role.

“When I interviewed Mitchell I knew immediately that he was the ideal candidate for the position in our program,” Dr Moar said.

“The people I have spoken to at BMW have been blown away with Mitchell’s performance and he has helped to promote La Trobe engineering globally.”

BMW were keen to hold on to Mitchell after his eight-month internship was up, but in a win for regional Victoria he has decided to head back home to Indigo Valley, just outside of Wodonga.

“I am hoping to stay near Wodonga for now. I feel I now have an opportunity to bring some unique and innovative ideas to the area.” Mitchell said.

La Trobe’s School of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences Global Research and Industry Program (GRIP) is run in partnership with some of the world’s most innovative tech companies to develop the skills of students and ultimately help Australian companies be more competitive internationally.

“The number of talented students applying is impressive and people like Mitchell can help bring these world class skills back to Australia and hopefully more regional areas,” Dr Moar said.

“Students have an opportunity to learn from the best as well as show off their own skills which they have learnt during their degree.”

GRIP provides students with the ultimate opportunity to fulfil the University’s Essentials of Global Citizenship, Innovation and Entrepreneurship and Sustainability thinking.

This was achieved by being immersed in another country, culture and language whilst performing as a professional in their chosen field of study in the Research and Innovation centre of one of the world’s most innovative companies.

“Mitchell’s success just goes to show that Australian talent can match it with the world’s best engineers.” Dr Moar said.

Media Contact: Dylan May – d.may@latrobe.edu.au - 9479 5353 / 0407125909

Photo L to R: La Trobe engineering student Mitchell Ward with La Trobe Engineering Senior Lecturer and Entrepreneur in Residence Dr Peter Moar.

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