Girl power to watch for at Shell Eco-marathon
Mar 20, 2017
Shell Eco-marathon is one of the global platforms that drive female student engineers to make waves in the science industries in the future.
The presence of women is particularly something to watch for in the Asian leg of the energy efficiency competition which will be held in Singapore from March 16 to 19.
At Shell Eco-marathon, women don’t just drive cars. They design, build them, and even manage their teams in the process. Kirsten Caldez Despi, for one, is the team manager of University of San Carlos’ Team Lahutay which has always been noteworthy for producing sleek car designs in their over five years in the competition.
“I joined the team in 2016. I viewed it as an opportunity to see theories put into action. For this year’s race, I was appointed team manager. I did find it a challenge to balance school and work since this is also my graduating year. But I see this as a stepping stone for better learning, and to give me more confidence when I face the world outside of school,” she shared.
Another female leader who has been steering her team is Rangel Daroya, manager of Team Dagisik from University of the Philippines. Although their school is a veteran contender in the competition, Team Dagisik is composed of all new members and their car, Siglo, is also built from scratch.
“Joining takes a lot of determination and commitment. When you think you already got it figured out, new problems will come up. But it’s all worth it when your car finally runs,” said Daroya, as she recalled the time when their car failed to run, and when it broke in half. As the team manager, it is her task to motivate the team and make sure everyone keeps on going for gold despite the challenges.
As proof that hard work pays off, Team Dagisik won in the UrbanConcept – Battery Electric category during the local rendition of the competition held in Clark International Speedway in Pampanga. They chalked a mileage of 110.03 km/kWh and they are determined to exceed this record in the regional event.
In other countries, women are equally making strides, even in teams and countries that have always been known to be male-dominated especially in the science and engineering fields. Team Megalodon from The German University of Technology in Oman is one example of a student-team who, for the first time in three years, has recruited two women to play key roles in the team. Arjawan al Hajri, a 3rd Year Process Engineering student who has always loved driving cars, will be the team’s designated driver. The second female student member, Al Shifa al Hadi, helped develop an innovative automatic control programming solution that is designed to enhance the car’s performance by sensing and reporting car-related parameters to the driver.
Meanwhile, Team Panthera from Indira Gandhi Delhi Technical University for Women in India, is an all-girls team made up of students pursuing Bachelor of Technology degrees in the field of Mechanical and Automation from both rural states and cities in India. Having made it to the second phase of the competition qualifiers, the team has silenced naysayers who used to tell them to send boys instead when they tried to purchase raw materials.
With this increasingly vital role that women play, girl power is definitely to watch for in the upcoming smarter mobility competition that spurs the youth to design, build, and drive the innovative vehicle that can run the farthest using the least amount of energy. To know more about Shell Eco-marathon, visit www.shell.com/ecomarathon.