Sportsmanship Award

Posted on Thursday, July 26, 2012

The 2012 Solar Race has come to a close with WMU in eighth place. Sixteen teams qualified, and 11 were able to cross the finish line in St. Paul. WMU finished the race just 8 minutes after the winner.

WMU also captured the event's annual Sportsmanship Award, which is no big surprise to all involved with the team.

Mechanical Engineering Advisor and past team member, Maddie McAuley (BS, Engineering Graphics and Design Technology; MS, Manufacturing Engineering; currently working on her MSE-Industrial), and Manufacturing Engineering Technology student Michael Konkle participated in a late-night fix at the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences. The repairs allowed SUNY New Paltz to remain in the race.

I received a call around 8 p.m., a team member from SUNY New Paltz was desperately looking for help. They destroyed a front shock when a wheel turned 90 degrees into railroad tracks at a high speed. They improvised with bar stock to get to CEAS before battery impound. They were told they could not continue the race without a new shock. Luckily we had a box of spares and the facilities to modify the vehicle, " McAuley explained.

Helping an opponent? To the Broncos, it's a no brainer. "
It isn't about winning or losing, it's about the experience. I'm working on my third degree at WMU and have learned the most through Sunseeker," said McAuley. "I hope by helping other teams, other students can experience the same opportunities I have had through the WMU solar car program. Even after a successful race, it is very difficult for students to obtain money and resources for the next event.  An unsuccessful race can be fatal for a university solar car program."

The SUNY team also lucked out when Konkle offered to machine a special part and provide opinions and expertise. "After an all out scavenger hunt for fasteners and "customizing" their roll cage a bit- SUNY was back in the race!" McAuley said.

Race officials approved the repairs, and SUNY was allowed to finish the race.

McAuley went on to add, "
Sunseeker is a very transparent team, which makes us very approachable by others in need. Having been involved in solar racing since the late 80's, we have a lot of experience.  If something goes wrong, there is a good chance we already learned how to overcome the setback. Many teams don't like to broadcast their issues, but Sunseeker shares them so others benefit from lessons learned."

The WMU Sunseeker Team has won the Sportsmanship Award (or a similar title) in almost every race because of their willingness to help other teams cross the finish line.

"I have learned the most through Sunseeker. Sunseeker taught me how to be a practical engineer. Sunseeker's success is reliant on working closely with a multidisciplinary team. I've learned a great deal about other disciplines as well as working with people," said McAuley.

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