CJ STEMM Idol: Elana Chapman '87

A CJ alumna returned to school to share how her career relates to each STEMM field, as part of the STEMM Idol Speaker Series.

Elana Chapman '87 is a Senior Fuels Engineer at General Motors in Pontiac, Michigan.

"I was inspired while at CJ and I want to inspire the next group of scientists and engineers," Chapman said.

While speaking with students on Tuesday, November 24, Chapman recalled how some of the teachers at CJ helped develop techniques she still uses today.

"One of my teachers used to give us assignments in the library," Chapman explained. "He would send us off with 8 or 10 things we had to find in books. Those were really tough challenges but really helped instill my problem solving skills."

After graduating CJ, Chapman received her undergraduate degree, with a focus in mechanical engineering, at the University of Dayton.

"Once I finished at UD, I got a job at Delphi Electronics and Safety in Kokomo, Indiana," Chapman noted. "I liked what I was doing and developed my skills. One of my professors at the University of Dayton suggested I go back to grad school and I did, studying combustion and alternative fuels."

Chapman attended Penn State University for her graduate degrees. She earned a MS in Fuel Science, a MS in Mechanical Engineering and PhD in Fuel Science.  Now working at GM, Chapman told the students she shares her expertise with workers world-wide.

"In a typical day, I begin by answering emails from either overnight or early in the morning," Chapman shared.  "The emails will be from workers in China, Europe, Brazil and Australia, who have technical questions and are trying to find answers from our group in Michigan."

Chapman said other components of her position include creating and testing fuels for engines so they meet emission regulations and working on projects that support answering technical questions about fuel and engine interactions.

At the end of her presentation, Chapman offered this encouragement to students, "If you are going to pursue a career in STEMM, you might struggle, but part of the accomplishment is the struggle. You can't give up on yourself even if you get a bad grade or do you poorly in class; just stay your course. Focus on what your interest is and wanting to be the person you are, and you'll be successful. Follow your heart and what you want to do."

Are you interested in becoming a CJ STEMM Idol Speaker Series presenter? Contact Meg Draeger, CJ STEMM coordinator, at (937) 461-3740 x487, or at mdraeger@cjeagles.org.