Valarie Boatman: Adrenaline junkie

Valarie Boatman testing the new Chevy Volt.jpg

Valarie Boatman. Missouri S&T alumna. Photo submitted

All her life, Valarie Boatman, a 2006 mechanical engineering graduate, has been interested in two things: racing and cars.

At Missouri S&T, she spent 40-50 hours each week in the Formula SAE shop designing and fabricating the race car.

Today, as a performance integration engineer for General Motors, she spends her days at Milford Proving Grounds, testing some of the electronic chassis controls in the electric-powered Chevrolet Volt and working to improve a driver’s experience and safety behind the wheel.

“Even though the software is already in the car, my job is to drive it and make any necessary tweaks to fine-tune its performance,” she says. “That way, once the car is in the customer’s hands, it will run as seamlessly as possible.”

As part of her job, she takes the cars up to GM’s winter test facility in the Upper Peninsula during the winter months to test them on the “giant ice pads and snow fields.” At the end of the day, her favorite part is knowing that she personally contributes to drivers’ experience and safety. On the weekends, Boatman enjoys training and riding her two young Arabian horses. But that doesn’t keep her away from the racetracks.

“On a weekend here and there I also love to ride my Yamaha R6 on the racetrack, my favorite two being Grattan and Mid-Ohio,” she says. “Even though my schedule is packed between crazy test-driving maneuvers, racing and horses, I can honestly say that I love every minute of it and wouldn’t change a thing.”

Missouri S&T grad (and former formula car team member) Valarie Boatman is a performance integration engineer for General Motors and works at Milford Proving Grounds. She is responsible for testing certain electrical systems in the Chevrolet Volt.

By Mindy Limback
This story was originally published in Missouri S&T Magazine.
Read additional stories from the Winter 2010 issue.