Battery Workforce Challenge

The University of Alabama &
Shelton State Community College team

Fostering Collaboration for Innovation

UA BattChallenge is competing with 11 teams across North America to design, characterize, build, test, and integrate a battery pack into an electric vehicle from Stellantis. Our team is formed by a collaborative partnership between The University of Alabama (UA) and Shelton State Community College (SSCC). This mutually beneficial partnership will help achieving the team’s vision: Prepare the next generation of diverse workforce for transportation electrification and empower them with the needed knowledge and expertise through excellence in training, education, and inclusion. 

40+ Years
of Industry Experience

14 Majors

six countries represented

Swimlane Breakdown

Three swimlanes will be working together to succeed in the program. These swimlanes are Battery Pack Hardware (BPH), Battery Pack Software (BPS), and Vehicle System integration (VSI). Beyond engineering teams, we also have a robust group of STEM and CREATE Path to the MBA students manage and maximize sponsorships, operations, and promotional activities for the team.

This team structure provides new recruits with a support system of experienced students who are able to offer guidance in addition to the faculty members. By combining multidisciplinary team members with years of experience and expertise, we hope the The University of Alabama & Shelton State Community College team can provide value to the young professionals studying in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. 

Electrical design, mechanical design, battery testing and characterization, electrical schematics, packaging design, sensing and monitoring circuitry, high voltage and low voltage wire harness, battery management system electronics, contactors, relays, and machining and fabrication.  

Software system design, algorithms development, validation and testing, vehicle communication, programming/coding, battery management system algorithms, and analog and digital communication.  

Mechanical design, thermal modeling, physics-based simulation, battery thermal management, heat transfer, and 2D/3D CAD design.

Beyond engineering teams,  non-engineering majors, spanning from public relations to studio art that help promote the team, manage operations, and procure sponsorships. The program offers an unparalleled and interdisciplinary learning experience beyond the classroom environment.

Team Members

Dr. Jaber Abu-Qahouq

Lead Faculty Advisor
& Lead Safety Advisor

Dr. Jaber Abu Qahouq, based in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, is a Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at The University of Alabama (UA), the Director of The Energy and Power Electronics Systems and Devices Laboratory, and the Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) of the Alabama Mobility and Power (AMP) Center. He is the UA Lead Faculty Advisor for the Battery Workforce Challenge Team and is excited to be part of this educational competition and having the opportunity to contribute to educating and training students to be the next generation of workforce and leaders in transportation electrification.


Dr. Rob Morgan

Management and Sponsorship Development Faculty Co-Advisor

Dr. Rob Morgan is a Professor of Marketing and Director of the STEM Path to the MBA and CREATE Path to the MBA programsHis research and teaching interests are primarily technology commercialization, marketing strategy, and innovation. Dr. Morgan earned his Ph.D. at Texas Tech University.


Dr. Krishna Shah

Faculty Co-Advisor

Dr. Krishna Shah is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at The University of Alabama. He received his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Texas, ArlingtonHis research is focused on sustainable energy systems, particularly comprehensive research on Li-ion and Beyond Li-ion Batteries. He has been recognized with awards and honors for his contribution in research and promoting DEI in STEM. Dr. Shah is excited about the journey this team has undertaken where students will go from being novices in battery technology to the ones building the battery system for an electric vehicle.


Thomas (Mike) Hobson

Vocational School Faculty Advisor

Thomas Hobson, from Alabama, is an Automotive Services Technology Instructor and the Construction/Transportation Division Chair for Shelton State.  He earned an 

Associate’s Degree of Applied Technology and Automotive Service Technology from Bessemer State Technical College, as well as a Bachelor of Science in Technical Education from Athens State College. In addition, Mr. Hobson is an ASE Certified Master technician with more than 25 years of experience and is an L1 Advanced Engine Performance Specialist, an L3 Light Duty Hybrid & Electric Vehicle Specialist, and holds an APPQMR Certification. He is excited to bring his years of experience to this competition.


faculty co-advisors

Dr. Bharat Balasubramanian, professor, CAVT executive director and ATI chief mobility research and development officer


Dr. Paul Puzinauskas, associate professor of mechanical engineering and coordinator of student challenge projects for the College of Engineering


Dr. Hwan-Sik Yoon, associate professor of mechanical engineering

Mohammad Alsmadi

Project Manager

Mohammad Alsmadi, originally from Jordan, is a fourthyear PhD Student in Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of AlabamaHe holds two master’s degrees, one in Electrical Engineering and one in Renewable Energy EngineeringHe is most excited about being among the next generation of diverse engineers, technicians, and leaders who can contribute to transportation electrification.


Anastasia Ramig

Co-Project Manager & Batt Scholar Vocational Liaison

Anastasia Ramig, from St. Louis Missouri, is an undergraduate senior double majoring in mathematics and physics with a minor in Spanish. Additionally, she is an MBA candidate participating in the STEM Path to the MBA program. Anastasia has extensive experience in data analytics for organizations such as the Boeing Company and the Department of Defense. She also serves as the President of the Society of Physics Students and a College of Arts and Sciences AmbassadorAnastasia is most excited about the opportunity to work with such a diverse group of students on such an important project.


Owen Schreiber

Engineering Manager

Owen Schreiber is a master’s student from Tuscaloosa, AL majoring in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Alabama. Owen received his BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Alabama in May 2022. He currently works with Dr. Krishna Shah on research including Li-ion batteries, computational modeling, and machine learning. He is the lab manager of the Sustainable Energy Systems Lab at UA, and last summer worked at Sandia National Labs on a mesoscale model of the battery electrode drying process. Owen is most excited to pass down his knowledge of computational modeling to the undergraduates participating in the competition!


Yuankun Zhao

Co-Engineering Manager

Yuankun Zhao is a PhD student in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at The University of Alabama.


Shane Vanderhagen

Battery Pack Hardware Lead & Batt Scholar Team Choice

Shane Vanderhagen is a Junior studying electrical engineering with a math minor and is in the STEM Path to MBA. He has research experience with Dr. Jaber studying battery technology, specifically state-of-health and cell characterization topics. Additionally, he has engineering experience at Mercedes-Benz U.S. International.


Ahmed Bakr

Battery Pack Software Lead

Ahmed Bakr, originally from Cairo, Egypt, is a first-year computer science student at The University of Alabama. Ahmed earned a master’s degree in computer engineering before beginning his undergraduate studies. Ahmed is distinguished by his seven years of industrial experience in the automotive industry. Ahmed is eager to contribute his expertise and wealth of practical/professional insights to the Battery Challenge. His enthusiasm stems from the opportunity to apply his industry experience to a challenge that not only aligns with market needs but also plays an important role in shaping and preparing the next generation of students.


Lukas Kiesewetter

Vehicle Systems Integration Lead

Lukas Kiesewetter is a junior from Mount Washington, Kentucky majoring in mechanical engineering at the University of Alabama. He is also a member of the Randall Research Scholars Program and the Accelerated Master’s Program. Lukas has research experience with Dr. Shah working on lithium-ion battery testing and modeling and their applications to transportation. He is excited to help lead structural and thermal simulations for the VSI subteam.


Avery Tucker

Communications Lead

Avery Tucker is an undergraduate senior majoring in public relations with a minor in communication studies from Huntsville, Alabama. She is also an MBA candidate in the CREATE Path to the MBA program at The University of Alabama. Avery is most excited about finding innovative ways to recruit team members and plan communication strategies during this challenge.


Abi Brewer

DEI, Recruiting, and Retention Lead

Abi Brewer, originally from Albuquerque, New Mexico, is an undergraduate senior student at the University of Alabama majoring in Studio Art and International Studies and minoring in Chinese.  She is also an MBA candidate in the CREATE path to the MBA programShe is most excited about promoting DEI on the team and fostering equitable opportunities for team members.


Member Voices

Want to Get Involved?

Our team is actively looking for new members to contribute to our swimlanes in the areas of BPH, BPS, and VSI. To get involved, fill out this interest form. Also, students can contact our Project Manager, Mohammad Alsmadi or our Co-Project Manager, Anastasia Ramig. 

The team leads meet once a week on the UA Campus in our UA BattChallenge office, Hardaway Hall 160, however once prospective students have been organized into the swimlane in which they will be working, the team leads will coordinate a time in which the whole team can meet and discuss their objectives.

Additionally, joint meetings between The University of Alabama & Shelton State Community College team members will take place both at UA and SSCC campuses. Each swimlane is working on developing a stream-lined “on-boarding” process so that each new student can adjust quickly and effectively to their swimlane.