The Gordon and Jill Bourns College of Engineering at California Baptist University held an IndyCar Race Exhibition Sept. 20 as the second part of a three “lap” Auto Racing Initiative meant to encourage growth in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education.
CBU had the opportunity to sponsor an IndyCar this year. The exhibition featured this car, allowing all CBU students and faculty an opportunity to view it. The exhibition also featured a STEM education exhibit, high speed racing presentations and multiple booths for clubs within the College of Engineering.
Dr. Anthony Donaldson, engineering dean, spoke of the event as an enhanced learning experience.
“In the College of Engineering we’re looking to create opportunities for students that are non-traditional learning opportunities,” Donaldson said. “When they look back 20 years from now, they remember that about their college experience.”
The IndyCar event was an intersection of nearly all of the programs within the College of Engineering, as race cars themselves are a collection of engineering disciplines.
“You have software and computer science that go into these cars, into the data streams that flow from the sensors,” Donaldson said, “(as well as) civil engineering that goes into the structural design of the frames. You obviously have mechanical, electrical and computer engineering. You have biomedical: They even have a thing to help balance the fluid pressure in the lungs as the driver goes around the high G forces.”
Jacob Leonard, freshman engineering major, said he learned the most from the Race Experience presentation.
“The speaker discussed how much analysis and pre-planning actually goes into each race,” Leonard said. “They use multiple programs to find out what parts to use on the car, when to pit stop (and) when the driver should speed up or slow down. Basically, there’s a lot that goes into getting these cars to race.”
David Mora, freshman mechanical engineering major, said he enjoyed getting an up-close look at a real race car.
“The best part of the event for me was seeing a beautiful, slick Indy car interior and exterior,” Mora said.
Several sponsors helped put together the Automotive Racing Initiative in conjunction with the College of Engineering. The hope for this initiative is not only to encourage and engage current students, but to also spread the interest in STEM education to prospective students, as well.
“We envisioned this not only for our students but to also reach out to the community,” Donaldson said.
More than 200 high school students attended the event and toured the Engineering Building, accomplishing the goal of attracting potential students.