This spring, the Penn State Advanced Vehicle Team welcomed 20 freshmen who are interested in the engineering field to Penn State EcoCAR 2 through a mechanical engineering seminar. The New students will spend the rest of the semester learning about hybrid-electric vehicles (HEVs) as well as broader transportation energy and emissions issues. The freshmen will also take on an active role as members of the EcoCAR electrical, mechanical or controls groups.
“Being a part of the electrical group as a freshman is the kind of the experience that I couldn’t get anywhere else,” said Bassam Al-Othman, a freshman from Kuwait. “I’m considering petroleum engineering to be my major, and EcoCAR 2 is going to give me the chance to go back home and work in the energy sector.”
Other freshmen agreed that EcoCAR 2 provides quite a unique experience for young engineers.
“I’m being exposed to so many industry programs and opportunities,” said Abhiram Yalamanchili, a freshman from India majoring in mechanical engineering. “It’s very worthwhile experience, especially considering how early it is in my college career.”
Because they see the value of EcoCAR 2, many of the freshmen expressed interest in continuing their work over the next two years of the competition. Bradley Dorce, a freshman in the mechanical group said, “I already plan to stick around to further my knowledge of cars. EcoCAR 2 gives me the opportunity to explore my interests.”
Today’s freshmen will soon be tomorrow’s engineering leaders, so it’s encouraging to see them diving right in to EcoCAR 2. The motto, “Plugging In to the Future” not only sums up Penn State’s concern about the future of the environment, it also stresses the importance of educating young, bright engineers who will help create energy and transportation solutions. We are look forward to watching Penn State’s new freshmen learn more, and we can’t wait to see just how far they’ll take the team.