I was twelve years old when I decided on a career in mechanical engineering. I could give a long list of reasons, but there was one that stood out among the others. My one crazy dream: I wanted to save the planet.
I am not alone on the team in aspiring to a career in sustainable engineering, and I am certainly not alone in valuing sustainability in technology. Even outside of this project, we are a community of young engineers with a dedicated interest in improving environmental technologies. Blue Sky Solar Racing provides an invaluable platform to collaborate with like-minded individuals, improve our technical skills beyond anything we would learn in class, and, in the end, have something amazing to show for it.
Of U of T engineers, I believe that we are among the best educated on the intricacies of sustainable technology – from array power maximization, to mechanical and electrical efficiency, to fabrication load reduction, to aerodynamic loss reduction, to strategic use of the power at hand. The car that we create is a display of the maximum abilities not only of current technologies, but of engineering students who dedicate themselves to a singular purpose.
As a fabrication team lead, my job does not involve creating innovative technologies as much as it involves discovering them – and then finding innovative ways to use them to our team’s best advantage. My job involves asking as much as it does answering; and it involves learning from the very basics every step of the way. I joined the team as a wide-eyed, purple-dyed, first-year engineering student like any other. Yet here I am, two years later, helping to advance a team seven cycles and seven cars old. The team’s world-class development is our own personal development – and we are all just students.
For me, the personal development that I can see in myself and the other team members is as important as our final product. When I hear team members discussing the project with the general public, I am always amazed at their extent of the team member’s knowledge, and the captivation of the audience members. This is what I hope to draw attention to: our growing team of technologically and environmentally aware young engineers, the knowledge that we can share with the community, and the amazing work that can come from our dedicated hands.
Our car may be a fantastic display of student engineering, but we are the main innovation. We are the technology that will go forth and change the world.
And the twelve-year-old dreamer in me would be amazed at what we have accomplished.