Vehicle Project Teams: Race Cars, Snowmobiles & All-Terrain Vehicles

Baja SAE
The Clarkson Baja SAE engineering project team competes in a competition in the snow.

The Clarkson Baja SAE team is charged with following guidelines set by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) to design and fabricate a single-seat, all-terrain vehicle. The team, which is Clarkson's largest, has approximately 30 members and competes in up to three competitions against 120+ international teams each year. 

Related undergraduate programs: Mechanical EngineeringEngineering & Management

Recent accolades: Placed 11th overall at the Maryland Baja SAE race and 6th overall at the Kansas Baja SAE race in 2018

Clarkson Baja Website Instagram Facebook YouTube Baja SAE Blog Post Fact Sheet PDF

SAE Clean Snowmobile Challenge
Clarkson's Clean Snowmobile Diesel Sled SPEED team competes in an annual competition

Competing in the annual Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Clean Snowmobile Challenge, the "Diesel Sled" team follows guidelines set by the SAE to design and build a diesel-powered snowmobile to eliminate emissions and reduce noise. Diesel Sled typically has approximately 20 members from a wide variety of undergraduate programs, including from the Reh School of Business.

Related undergraduate programs: Mechanical EngineeringCivil EngineeringElectrical EngineeringEnvironmental EngineeringEngineering & Management

Recent accolades: 1st place finish in the Diesel Utility Class at the 2020 SAE Clean Snowmobile Challenge
Featured in SAE Momentum Magazine

Diesel Sled Website Instagram Facebook YouTube Video Fact Sheet PDF

Formula SAE
A member of Clarkson's Formula SAE Knights racing SPEED team races in a competition

Members of the Formula SAE racing team, also referred to as "Mini Indy" and "Formula Knights Racing," follow rules set by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) to build a formula-style race car using available resources and those earned through sponsorships. The club is made up of automotive enthusiasts from all majors, including business students, and competes against other colleges and universities in the national SAE competition.

Related undergraduate programs: Mechanical EngineeringBusiness Studies

Recent accolades: SAE Team Breaks Top 20 at Michigan International Speedway

Formula Knights Racing Website Fact Sheet PDF

Formula SAE Electric
Members of Clarkson's Formula SAE SPEED team work on parts and components for their race car in the SPEED lab

The Formula SAE Electric racing team, like the Formula SAE team, is charged with designing and building a formula-style race car using rules set by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), but it must be 100 percent electric. The "Electric Knights" team, which typically has about 15 members, competes in the Formula SAE Electric competition each year. 

Related undergraduate programs: Environmental EngineeringElectrical EngineeringMechanical Engineering

Formula Electric Knights Website Fact Sheet PDF

Vehicle Project Teams: Planes, Human-Powered & Chemically-Powered

Chem-E Car
Two members of Clarkson's Chem E Car (Chem-E) SPEED Team work on their car for competition

Students on the Chem-E Car team are charged with designing and building a model-sized car powered by and stopped by a non-combustible chemical reaction by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE). There are typically about 15 dedicated members on the team, which competes in a regional competition that leads to a national competition.

Related undergraduate programs: Chemical EngineeringElectrical EngineeringChemistry

Recent accolades: Tied for third place at the 2020 AlChE Eckhardt National Student Conference, 4th place at the 2018 National Conference, and 1st place finish at the 2018 & 2020 Regional Student Conference

Picuki Fact Sheet PDF

Human-Powered Vehicle
Students from Clarkson's Human Powered Vehicle SPEED team work on their engineering design project

The Human-Powered Vehicle team follows restrictions set by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) to design and build a lightweight vehicle powered only with energy created by a human rider and that could be used as reliable transportation in underdeveloped or inaccessible parts of the world.. This team of ~15 members competes annually against over 50 teams in events to test their design, innovation, speed and endurance. 

Related undergraduate programs: Mechanical Engineering

Fact Sheet PDF

Design, Build, Fly
A student from the Design Build Fly SPEED team works on the team's plane before competition

The Design, Build, Fly team is tasked with developing a plane that satisfies the current year's unique design requirements, as set by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA). The team of about 15 members competes in the international AIAA Design Build Fly Competition in either Arizona or Kansas each year. Watch the test flight and read about the 2021 competition!

Related undergraduate programs: Aeronautical EngineeringMechanical Engineering

Recent accolades: 1st place at the 2018 AIAA Design-Build-Fly student competition

Design Build Fly Winning Flight Video Fact Sheet PDF

Building & Construction Teams: Bridges, Canoes and More

Construction Management
Clarkson's Construction Management undergraduate project SPEED team show off their winning cash prize

Each fall, the Construction Management team attends a conference and job fair hosted by the Associated Schools of Construction (ASC) during which professional construction firms sponsor categories like commercial, heavy civil, pre-construction and design-build for teams to compete in. The team splits into sub-teams to compete in as many categories as possible and has 13 hours to review their requests for proposal (RFP) and submit final results. 

Related undergraduate programs: Civil EngineeringConstruction Engineering Management

Recent accolades: 1st Place Regionals, 2nd Place 2019 Association of Construction Schools national competition

Construction Management Blog Post Fact Sheet PDF

Concrete Canoe
Members of Clarkson's Concrete Canoe SPEED team work in the lab on their canoe design and creation

Members of the Concrete Canoe team follow rules set by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) to design and construct a new canoe out of concrete that is able to float and navigate waterways. This team, comprised of 12-15 members from many different majors, competes regionally in a competition that involves actually paddling in the concrete canoe on the water!

Related undergraduate programs: Civil EngineeringEnvironmental Engineering

Concrete Canoe Website Instagram Fact Sheet PDF

Steel Bridge
Students from Clarkson's Steel Bridge SPEED team build their steel bridge during a competition

Members of the Steel Bridge team are charged with designing and constructing a take-apart steel bridge that’s easy to build, relatively light and able to withstand incredibly heavy loads while following the guidelines set by the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) and the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). The team's ~20 dedicated members, mainly sophomores and juniors, 

Related undergraduate programs: Mechanical EngineeringCivil EngineeringEngineering & Management

Fact Sheet PDF

Timber Bridge
Clarkson's Timber Bridge SPEED team's competition bridges are still used on campus today

Rather than compete against other teams on annual challenges, the Timber Bridge team partners with local groups to design, fabricate and install a timber frame bridge, combining engineering skills with community outreach. The team used to attend an annual competition, and the bridges that they built are still utilized around Clarkson's Potsdam campus today.

Related undergraduate programs: Civil EngineeringConstruction Engineering Management

Robotics Teams

FIRST Robotics
Clarkson's FIRST Robotics SPEED team at competition

Students in the FIRST Robotics program, "Team 229" mentor students from two local high schools as they design and build a remote-control robot to compete in two regional competitions and potentially a world championship. They follow guidelines set by FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) to create a robot that can play in a unique game each year. About 25 Clarkson students and 20 high school students work together on this team, with various academic interests. 

Related undergraduate programs: Electrical EngineeringComputer EngineeringSoftware Engineering

Recent accolades: Received a bid to the 2020 FIRST Championships after a strong performance in Montreal

Team 229 Website Facebook Instagram Fact Sheet PDF

Clarkson FIRST Scholarship

Did you know that by participating on a FIRST Robotics (FRC) or FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) team in high school, you may be eligible for up to $24,000 in scholarships from Clarkson University?

The Clarkson FIRST Scholarship recognizes up to 25 high school seniors each year with up to to $6,000 for every year they attend Clarkson, up to four years (eight semesters).

Learn more about Scholarships & Special Awards

Why Join a SPEED Team at Clarkson?

State-of-the-Art Machine Shop

All Clarkson students have access to Clarkson's state-of-the-art Student Prototyping Machine Shop, which is home to a wide range of equipment such as modern CNC milling machines and lathes, an extensive welding lab, water jet cutting and more. Students can take courses in the Machine Shop to further their technical, hands-on skills, from basic shop skills, to lathes, milling and CNC machining, to welding and MasterCam. 

Learn more about the Machine Shop

Class Concepts Come to Life

Learning about engineering concepts in the classroom is one thing, but using them in a hands-on situation is totally different! On SPEED teams, students bring the knowledge they gain from classwork to solve problems, seeing how these concepts translate to the real world in the process. It goes full circle, with students also being able to utilize the skills they've acquired on SPEED teams into their courses, giving them more perspective, experience and understanding. 

Skill Sets Employers Love

SPEED team members gain hands-on, real world experience and learn the coveted skill sets that future employers are looking for. Many teams are sponsored by major companies that also hire Clarkson students, as well as offer internship and co-op experiences. The Clarkson SPEED team alumni network is strong, creating even more opportunities for students.  

Leadership Opportunities

Clarkson SPEED teams are 100% student-run. Team members are required to take charge of a diverse array of duties ranging from recruiting new team members to taking charge of project scope and budget to finishing competition requirements on time. While the number of students on each team varies, the average team size is 15-20 students. That means you'll not only have the opportunity to get your hands dirty (literally), you'll be able to gain critical experience in effective leadership, teamwork and communication.

Collaborative & Competitive Atmosphere

Clarkson is known for its highly collaborative atmosphere, where students learn from and support each other. But just because they work together effectively in teams, that doesn't mean they aren't also highly competitive. In recent years, our SPEED teams have had strong showings in regional, national and international competitions. Plus, because our teams are relatively small, all members get the opportunity to contribute to the finished product. 

Hear It From a Clarkson Student
Clarkson's Baja SAE SPEED team poses with President Tony Collins

While a member of Clarkson's Baja SAE team, Joseph Harmon '18 wrote about what it's like to be on a SPEED team, and why it's better at Clarkson, citing smaller teams, more experience, career connections, and friendships as his three big takeaways. 

Read Joseph's Post

"I'm involved in the SPEED Steel Bridge team, designing and building a special project and then competing against other teams. There's pressure, but it's a lot of fun. We get together every Saturday from 9–5 to work on the project, and then we go to dinner. I've made new friends and worked with new tools!"

Kyle Thomson, BS Civil Engineering

Kyle Thomson
"The enthusiasm and aims for professionalism that I have observed in the Clarkson students involved in the SPEED teams reconfirms my confidence that Clarkson graduates industry-ready engineers. I appreciate how students gain the hands-on opportunities to work with our products before they graduate. Snap-On Tools wants to compete to recruit talented students like them as well as give them the best tools to work on their competitive projects".

Thomas L. Kassouf '74, President, Snap-on-Tools Group