Penn State Reflects on Successful Outreach in 2013

The following post was written by the Penn State EcoCAR 2 Team – thanks for contributing to the blog!

With the start of 2014, our team wanted to take a step back and reflect on one of the great outreach events we participated in during the fall 2013 semester. Let’s take a stroll down memory lane, shall we?

In October, our team was proud and honored to host the first-ever “Educate. Motivate. Innovate.” event in State College, Pa. Later that month, our team had the honor of hosting an informational open house event for some of our community’s biggest influencers. The open house even brought out Penn State President Rodney Erickson, who visited our garage for the first time! Also in attendance was State College Mayor Elizabeth Goreham; Dr. Karen Thole, Department Head of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering; Dean Wormley of the College of Engineering, and other prominent professors and faculty. ZipCar State College, a popular car-sharing service, brought one of their hybrid vehicles as well. Overall, we had about 45 people in attendance!

Team members explain the architecture of our competition vehicle to Penn State President Rodney Erickson.

Team members explain the architecture of our competition vehicle to Penn State President Rodney Erickson.

The purpose of our Educate. Motivate. Innovate event was to offer influential personnel in our community a visual learning experience about our vehicles. Although guests were shy around our snack table (though the donuts were delicious), they were very friendly when they spoke with our engineers! This was a great opportunity for everyone to share their progress with the community as well as garner some fantastic media coverage.


After President Erickson’s arrival, the event kicked off with a welcome from our Communications Manager, Cheyenne Sexton. She then formally introduced President Erickson, Dr. Thole, Mayor Goreham and Ben Sattler.

“We are thrilled to have such a great event turnout! This was a great opportunity for the engineers to share their progress with these important influencers in the community,” said Sexton.

The entire team received an incredible amount of encouragement from the speakers. Toward the end of event, engineers coordinated “ride-and-drives” around the Penn State campus. The silence of our vehicle when running really amazed everyone!

We must commend Dr. Thole for her ingenious idea for the next advanced vehicle technology competition, “EcoTractor,” to involve President Erickson! We’ll recommend that one to the organizers – we promise!

And with that, we look forward to many more successful outreach events in 2014 for the Penn State Advanced Vehicle Team.