Jalopnik Contributes to a Student's Beer Fund

If new contributor Laura Burstein earns the tag of Jalopnik's "girl," I guess I'll claim the title of resident toddler. I'm Eric Tingwall, and I'm one of Jalopnik's new contributors. As a college student, my life seems eerily similar to that of many two-year-olds: Sleeping, eating and playing with cars. I'm currently earning degrees in mechanical engineering and journalism at Michigan State University. After explaining my choice of majors for the past three years, I'm counting on this to be the one place where people don't cock their heads to side, scrunch their noses and wrinkle their foreheads as they ask, "What do you want to do with that?"

This is what I want to do with those degrees: Follow the industry, meet the players and most of all drive the cars. Then write about it. My "big break" came when I won a contest sending me to this year's Frankfurt Auto Show, where I covered the unveils and drove Saturn's upcoming Astra with Inside Line. Senior Editor Ray Wert then invited me to join Jalopnik in this gig and bought me a drink at Starbucks. How could I refuse that offer?

There are approximately two dimensions to my life: Cars and triathlon. If I'm not trolling the Internet for auto news, I'm swimming, biking or running. I train and race with the second-in-the-nation Michigan State Triathlon Team. When it comes to cars, I'm really a product guy, so feel free to start calling me names you would use with others sharing the obsession — you know, like "Product Czar" or "Maximum" Eric Tingwall. The driving dynamics, captivating designs and new technologies that create emotion-invoking cars are what really — err — revs my engine? Sorry, still resorting to hackneyed and trite automotive metaphors. Don't worry, I'll get that out of my system soon. But of course, living in the world of cars is so much more than flashy new models and I'm thrilled to be here at Jalopnik as we indulge in our obsession of all things automotive.

-Eric