Q: How did you get involved with EcoCAR as a student?
A: I joined about half-way through Year One of EcoCAR. One of my friends was on the Penn State EcoCAR team let me know they were looking for public relations and business students to join the program. Since I was a PR major and involved in the Public Relations Student Society of America, I agreed to help out, and recruited a few other students to join the Outreach team. The Penn State faculty advisor, Gary Neal, asked if I would come back for Year Two as the outreach coordinator/undergraduate research assistant – and the rest is history!
Q: What does your position at Argonne entail?
A: My official title is Communications and Logistics Coordinator for Advanced Vehicle Technology Competitions. I assist in the behind-the-scenes logistics for the competition; everything from venue selection to signage. I also sit in on the outreach committee meetings and help develop all of the EcoCAR outreach deliverables. In addition to EcoCAR, I help coordinate the Clean Cities University Workforce Development Program, which consists of about 25 different Coalitions every academic semester.
Q: How did being an Outreach Coordinator prepare you for your position with Argonne?
A: Being involved in the program prior to joining Argonne’s team allowed me to learn about the program, how it is run, and the philosophy behind Advanced Vehicle Technology Competitions. I was able to give insight into the outreach side of the program from a student perspective, which strengthened the outreach program. Although I don’t have an engineering degree, I learned about the various vehicle architectures and technical details of the program as a student, which helps me today.
Q: How was your first year as a competition organizer?
A: It was definitely an experience. As a student, I never realized how much the organizers do for the competition, especially from the logistics side. Like every job, you make some mistakes and you learn from them. I feel better prepared now that I have a year as an organizer under my belt.
Q: What was the most difficult part transitioning from student to organizer?
A: Just that – transitioning from a student to an organizer. As an organizer, you are in charge of the competition as a whole. You no longer have to manage one university team, but 16 of them. You have to be very good at time management and multi-tasking. The position is very stressful at times, but I truly enjoy what I do.
Thanks for taking the time to chat with us, Dana! Best of luck in in your second year as an organizer and Year One of EcoCAR: Plugging in to the Future!