Rising Technical Contributor Award
Ford Motor Company
For breaking technical barriers to improve electric vehicle batteries; and for taking ownership and initiative in the generational charge toward sustainability and renewable energy.
Gabrielle Vuylsteke is a research engineer for Ford Motor Company, working in high-voltage traction battery management and modeling. She is responsible for developing and delivering electrified vehicle features and applying machine learning and artificial intelligence to high-voltage battery systems. She believes wholeheartedly in making electrified vehicles more practical, attainable, and desirable.
After two summers as an intern, Vuylsteke began her career in the Ford College Graduate (FCG) rotational program. In the course of two-and-a-half years, she worked in six different groups, ranging from the 2021 F-150 launch to sustainability research. Her achievements include delivering simple battery models with cold-temperature performance improvements of up to 20% for a next-generation battery control project; developing a new direct-current fast charge time prediction algorithm for the Mustang Mach-E; demonstrating the robustness of a new traction battery state estimation strategy to battery aging; and supporting a fast-tracked proactive battery thermal control project. So far, this work has led to five patent applications.
Vuylsteke strengthened the FCG program as the functional representative for research and advanced (R&A) engineering FCGs in a larger FCG network for two years. In this role, she organized community-building events, paired each new R&A FCG with an experienced FCG buddy, and enhanced and maintained an online resource repository specifically for R&A FCGs. Finally, she worked with a broader committee to improve the FCG experience.
Previously, Vuylsteke was involved in several research projects at the University of Michigan related to supporting the electrical grid’s transition to renewable electricity generation, “smart” control of energy grids, and grid level energy storage. This work resulted in two published papers. She also analyzed the University of Michigan’s carbon footprint to recommend campus greenhouse gas emission reduction pathways to a university team seeking to put the institution on a sustainable path.
Vuylsteke has also been involved in groups such as Ford’s SWE employee resource group, Women of Ford, and Ford’s Research and Innovation Center Women’s Book Club. In addition to participating in mentoring circles, volunteering, and attending social events, she is involved in improving Ford’s job-share resources.
She has participated in various organizations that give back to the community. During university, Vuylsteke was transmission lead and then project engineer of BLUElab Woven Wind, a student team that designs small-scale wind turbines used to teach elementary school students about engineering and sustainability. In addition to leading the technical design team, she strengthened community partnerships by planning and hosting educational activity days at each partner elementary school, organizing hands-on demonstrations and presentations to introduce engineering concepts.
Vuylsteke earned her B.S. and M.S. in mechanical engineering from the University of Michigan. She lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan, near her family and her fiancé, Alex. She enjoys food, fantasy and science fiction, and volunteering in her church.