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University Students Share How Their Involvement with Formula SAE is Preparing Them for their Careers

Posted June 6, 2023

For many future engineers, SAE International is the starting line.

Last month, university teams comprised of these young professionals traveled to the Michigan International Speedway for the Formula SAE Internal Combustion (IC) competition.formula car

Formula SAE challenges teams of university undergraduate and graduate students to conceive, design, fabricate, develop and compete with small, formula-style vehicles. The competition requires performance demonstration of vehicles in a series of events, both off-and on-track against the clock.

Over four days of competition, students tested their cars through a series of evaluations, including tech inspection, noise, tilt and brake, before hitting the track. Teams demonstrated their creativity and engineering skills, going head-to-head against competitors from other universities around the world.

“Engineering is taking the theory and making something practical with it,” said Aaron Snyder, a graduate student at Temple University. “Formula SAE was really the first opportunity I had to take what I was learning in the classroom and put it into practice and see what engineering is really about.”

SAE’s University Programs are designed to prepare undergraduate and graduate engineering students in a variety of disciplines for future employment in the mobility industry by challenging them with a real-world engineering application.

formula carThrough the design process, students enhance their skills in project management, technical documentation, team collaboration and more. Students at competition also gain valuable exposure and engagement with industry professionals who volunteer at and recruit from events.

“It definitely gives you a close, hands-on experience preparing you for the workforce,” said Nathan Warda, a fourth-year student at University of Wisconsin. “It’s a fun way to learn and develop your skills.”

And career preparation isn’t the only benefit--one student shared his favorite part of the competition is getting to support and connect with the other teams.

“It’s a neat experience getting to hear a team call out that they need something over the loudspeaker and being able to help each other out,” said Andrew Thomas, a recent graduate of Kennesaw State University. “We just gave another team a leak tester; just helping other teams and seeing everyone working towards the same goal is really cool. We all want to build a car that races, we all want to compete, we all want to pass tech, so being able to help the teams in need is really nice.”

Stay tuned for more Formula SAE as we head back to the Michigan International Speedway for Formula SAE Electric!