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06-18-2002

Clarkson Team Finishes Fifth In Mini Baja Competition

Clarkson University’s Mini Baja Team placed fifth out of the 47 teams that competed in the 16th annual SAE Mini Baja East competition held recently in Morgantown, W. Va. This is the Clarkson team’s fourth top-five finish in five years.

“Once again our team performed outstandingly at the eastern competition,” said Tina Yuille, director of SPEED (Students Projects for Engineering Experience and Design) programs. “The team placed third in overall design and in the water maneuverability portion of the competition.  The team also placed fifth in the four-hour long distance race in which the vehicles negotiate a course of sand, woods and water.  It was a great race and another great showing by the Clarkson students.”

Sponsored by the Society of Automotive Engineers, the Mini Baja intercollegiate competition challenges students to produce a prototype of an all-terrain, amphibious vehicle intended for sale to off road enthusiasts. The car must be safe, easy to maintain and easily transported. Student designers must adhere to strict engineering design rules, including designated frame strength. The car must also meet manufacturing criteria of 3,000 units at a cost of less than $2,500 per unit.

At the competition, team vehicles are tested for acceleration, handling, maneuverability, endurance and water mobility and are evaluated on written and oral presentations by a panel of judges that include engineering and vehicle development experts from the automotive and off highway vehicle industry. In addition, each team must create and submit detailed safety drawings and design and cost reports for review prior to the competition.

The Mini Baja Team is part of Clarkson University's SPEED program, which promotes multidisciplinary project based learning opportunities for more than 250 undergraduates annually. SPEED projects involve engineering design and analysis, fabrication, and the enhancement of professional competencies such as budget management, effective teamwork and communication skills. SPEED receives its primary financial support from Alcoa, Corning, Eastman Kodak, the General Electric Fund, and Procter & Gamble.

SPEED was recognized with the 2001 Boeing Outstanding Educator Award for its exceptional contribution to improving undergraduate engineering education. Earlier this year, the Corporate and Foundation Alliance honored the SPEED program for its “exemplary effort to improve teaching and learning in undergraduate science, technology, engineering and mathematics education.”

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Michael P. Griffin, director of News & Digital Content Services, at 315-268-6716 or mgriffin@clarkson.edu.]

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