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I serve as faculty advisor to the Formula Society of Automotive Engineers (FSAE) student project. The project is sanctioned by SAE International, a scientific organization dedicated to the advancement of technology in the mobility area.

The idea behind the Formula SAE competition is that students are a design team contracted by a manufacturing company to develop a small, Formula-style race car. A lot of creativity is allowed, but students also have to comply with a set design and cost rules which are defined by SAE every year. Once the vehicle has been built, students participate in a series of competitions throughout the year, the biggest of which is the competition at the Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, MI. At these competitions, students are tested not only on the dynamic performance of the vehicle, but also have to deliver design, business and cost presentations to a panel of judges from industry.

This is a challenging and rewarding extracurricular project, and a great one for students to get involved in. It will provide engineering students a unique opportunity to apply what they have learned in the classroom and also to develop a substantial new technical knowledge on their own. It also gives them an opportunity to develop their leadership, interpersonal and time management skills.

Student volunteers on projects like Formula SAE contribute to WMU’s international presence as well as enrich their own collegiate experience. Many potential employers seek out and prioritize student involvement in these types of projects.

For more information about this project or to make a gift please visit the WMU SAE website at http://www.wmuformularacing.org/