The Life of an Automotive Crash Engineer

Jade Nobles : Automative Crash Senior Engineer at Toyota North America

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My pre-calculus teacher gave me information about an engineering summer camp for minority students at UVA. She thought it was something I should look into since I was such a strong math student. So, I learned about the different disciplines in engineering. What stuck out to me was this research a doctoral student was working on in impact biomechanics. She showed a video of a vehicle crash test and explained how they use different technology and dummies to understand the body’s response to a crash.

I have always loved cars so this was perfect for me. I could crash cars and help make them safer.  

I struggled in school a bit because the course load was a little much for me to handle. I had no mentor and no one in my family could really tell me what I should be doing. I didn’t realize how important internships were so I missed out on opportunities I should have taken on. I don’t think I ran into many barriers getting into my career. I was hired shortly after graduating by my dream company (Toyota) to work in automotive safety. It just took longer than I would have liked to graduate.

I am still at Toyota and it’s been interesting to see how startup culture and the rapid advancement has shaken up the industry I work in (automotive/manufacturing). The generational change has also been a major influence and changing the way people think, feel, and move.   Right now, I am struggling with knowing my worth and understanding where I am positioned compared to my colleagues. While I feel I am treated very well by my seniors and have been given an enormous amount of opportunities and exposure, I wonder if I am appropriately compensated and positioned relative to my male colleagues.  

I am genuinely happy with the work I am doing and feel like I have my dream job. I want to advance in my career and I am taking the necessary steps and actions to make that happen. I have peers who are in a job that they don’t really care for and don’t really know what they want in the future. I know I would be miserable if I were in their shoes.