Id like responses from people with personal experience with Automotive and specifically, Engine design engineering. I attend the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. I am a motorsports engineering student at one of the 5 or so schools in the nation that offer a specific motorsports BSME. We are in the heart of racing country, almost all of the NASCAR teams are just north of us in Mooresville NC. Our shop is funded by the Alan Kulwicki foundation, and we have much resources in our shop from a water brake engine dyno to a chassis dyno for our FSAE car that we run each year. I am concerned about the hiring situation that I will face when I graduate in December. When I started school the recession had not yet hit and everyone graduating with an engineering degree was being fought over, this is not the case anymore as we all know. A little about myself, I was an automotive service and body/frame technician until i was 24. I herniated a disc in my back and was unable to continue a labor type job even though I was in the sector (automotive) that I had chosen since I was a boy helping my grandpa repair anything from boats to tractors. I have roughly 10 years experience including time while studying in the automotive service/body/frame sector. I have concentrated on automotive/motorsports engineering since Ive been studying and specifically engine design. I have taken graduate level thermodynamics (second law analysis) and graduate level automotive engines taught by a man that was a NASCAR Cup winning technical director (Lead engine guy) for Roush Yates racing. I have no internship so far, I have been requested to keep in touch by Borg-Warner turbo systems for a possible internship this summer. ( If I can get one, Im going to do it for sure.) I do have much, much experience on the "shop floor". All my life Ive heard the guys on the shop floor complain about how the engineers know all of the math but they don't know how to design stuff that can be manufactured or worked on in any sort of efficient manner. I will have the ability to forsee these things as I have been a tech myself and my father is a 30 + year CNC machinist. The things that I think are to my advantage include, Coming from "race city" at a University that has put alot of time and money into their motorsports program. Being a service tech and have had my hands on every tool known to a tech. Having done MAJOR framework on automotive applications for repair. Having taken the next step in thermo and engines, taking the graduate level courses. Not taking the "easy" teacher, ever. I have always wanted the hardest teacher I can find. (Not the bad teacher, but the one who everyone avoids and has small class sizes because my peers arent up to the challenge.) I feel like even though the hard teachers are going to end me up with a lower GPA, I will in the end learn more and be a better engineer. I know for a fact that I learn more in classes I end up with a "C" in than the ones that I breezed through and earned an "A" or a "B" in. I have worked through my entire college career, both for myself at my shop at home and for a guy that I have been working with for 5 years that can attest to my ability to "Get it done, however need be." I have an engine calculator that Ive been working on that is a thermodynamic model, It will allow the user to compare two engines given inputs, it includes, -chemical combustion calculations -heat transfer in the cylinder -a fully adjustable range of P=c to V=c combustion -adjustable spark timing -cam timing -inertial forces and pressure forces on the crank -etc... its really all the way out there. I will be starting on another calculator here soon, -It will analyze crankshaft dynamics for a flat plane v-8,cross plane 90 american v8 and various degree banking 6 cylinders. ( I may just add the straight 6 in there, b/c I like them...very well balanced.) - It will show polar force/moment graphs for bearing and block/oil system design criteria. -It will show any unbalance, where its at and its magnitude for the user. I also am on the FSAE 12' Engine team, we will be implementing a positive displacement supercharger/intercooler setup that is bypassed once the restrictor pulls sonic. This included the drive system, mounting, tuning and cam design. -Our team placed ~20th last year even not passing tech at two of the dynamic events, we should very well be able to place top ten in Michigan this year with our 12' car. The things that I believe that are to my disadvantage include, -My age, I am graduating at 30 years old. -My GPA, since ive done the hardest subject I can think of short of modern physics my GPA is suffering ~2.5 -GPA is also suffering b/c Ive had to work and survive on my own this whole time, nobody is holding my hand. Really it is only the GPA that Im worried about, I think that if someone passed me by for an engine design job only on the count of my GPA they would be foolish. Ive really worked my *** off here and taken every challenge thrown my way. The result is a suffering GPA, and a well soaked,well challenged brain. I keep hearing so much about "you have to have a 3.0 to get hired" blah blah blah, it has me freaking out here. BTW I have always been told that I associate with people that are much older than me far better than any young person that has been seen, my interpersonal skills with people a generation or two ahead of my are superb. I also don't back down from challenges (Like the crank calculator, this was offered by my professor as a group project only but no one would jump on it with me so im doing it by myself.) Do I really have anything to worry about? I want to be an engine engineer so damned bad I can taste it. I cant even get it out of my mind when Im drinking beer with my buddies on the weekend, still drawing crank diagrams on napkins at the bar.