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Volunteer Spotlight: John Ochab

Posted: June 15, 2022

For John Ochab, a career of volunteering is one well spent.

The retired GM Powertrain Engineer has leant his time and talent to SAE International as a volunteer for 22 years, during which time he’s worked to teach and coordinate various STEM education programs at schools across the country.

Throughout that time, he’s advocated for equitable access for students to STEM learning opportunities, notably including SAE’s A World In Motion (AWIM).

“The students need activities to challenge their minds. They need to find out what careers they may want to go into,” Ochab said. “By volunteering, we can present to them what potential careers there are out there and that by their being able to build the projects AWIM provides, they can achieve the joy of success in completing projects.”

Ochab’s years of volunteering have not been without challenges. The year 2020 brought one of the most difficult yet, as the COVID-19 pandemic shut down classrooms and drastically changed the education environment. These changes demonstrated a need for creativity in education as well as volunteers to support these activities that happen outside of the classroom.

“We need more volunteers and more companies supporting the AWIM activities,” Ochab said. “Not all students will become scientists or engineers. However, just the exposure to the AWIM projects leads them to believe in themselves and that they can be whoever they want to be.”

Being a volunteer has provided a rewarding experience for Ochab as he gives kids the opportunity to learn about themselves.

“I believe I had shown the students that they can do anything and enjoy it,” Ochab says. “I get the joy of knowing that I am educating them without them knowing I am doing it. It’s a great feeling when a student shouts out, ‘Mr. John, I want to adopt you,’ after he is happy to complete the Jet Toy.”

Mr. John, can we adopt you, too? Thank you for all the work you’ve done to help kids through AWIM.


June at SAE International is Volunteer Recognition Month, and we’ll be celebrating our volunteers and contributors all month long. Know a story we should tell? Contact Marketing Specialist Maria Graziano at to share the details