Like many kids growing up in Monroe, Michigan, John Kipf was fascinated with auto racing, airplanes, and spacecraft. Unlike most of us, John has been able to make an engineering career out of his favorite childhood toys.
The first step on John’s journey was enrolling as an undergraduate student at the University of Michigan. While working towards his B.S.E. in aerospace engineering, John was an active and diligent student, participating in many academic and social organizations. When he wasn’t studying, John’s love for speed and racing was still evident. He was a four-year varsity letterwinner on the Men’s Track and Field team, even serving as an elected team captain for the 2008 Big Ten Championship team.
Upon graduating in 2010, John received a position with Ford Motor Company, working as a Development Engineer within the Vehicle Engineering organization. When he started considering grad school, ISD’s online Global Automotive and Manufacturing Engineering (GAME) degree was a natural choice. “My career thus far has required a significant amount of mobility,” said John.
“I needed a degree with online-delivery flexibility so that I could continue to work full time without any geographic restrictions. ISD offered a program that met that desire while also offering a curriculum that could deliver what I wanted as far as academic experience.”
As a GAME student, John took advantage of a variety of learning delivery methods. He completed courses exclusively online, but also attended one course, Entrepreneurial Business Fundamentals with Peter Adriaens, on campus. Despite completing most of his degree as a distance student, John took full advantage of office hours, group projects, and opportunities to interact with other students. “I was worried that being an online student, I wouldn’t feel as connected to the rest of the GAME program and greater ISD community,” said John. “I have been pleasantly surprised, though, how engaging the community has been and how it does feel like I am a part of it.”
John just celebrated his graduation on April 29, 2017 and is excited about what’s to come. He has a new title, Motorsports Engineer with Ford Performance, which John says is his dream job! “I am working on development and use of Ford Performance’s full-motion vehicle dynamics simulator for the Ford GT racing program. We’ve been able to use the simulator to successfully prepare for vehicle tests and races. When I’m not working on the simulator, I’m at the racetrack as a performance engineer doing whatever I can to make sure the GT comes home in first place!”
John plans to be an active alumnus, and to stay in touch with the students and faculty at ISD.