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Sun Devil Motorsports team cruises past competition

July 30, 2013

The Sun Devil Motorsports Team was covered with mud and exhausted after 14-hour days of pure automotive engineering and competition at this year’s Baja Society of Automotive Engineers competition in Billingham, Wash. Instead of celebrating their high-ranking finish, team members were planning next year’s Baja design only hours after the competition had ended. Club mentor and College of Technology and Innovation (CTI) senior lecturer James Contes says this is not unusual behavior for these motivated students and they are as excited as ever to reach the top.

The Sun Devil Motorsports team, a student club organization at CTI on the Polytechnic campus, competed against 86 other teams in the national competition to determine the Baja car with the best design and build. Every year, collegiate automotive clubs enter to compete in any of the three national competitions that test the design, speed, maneuverability and endurance of a student-manufactured Baja car – a frame-only vehicle used for off-roading and high adventure activity. Download Full Image

Run by the Society of Automotive Engineers, the competition is designed to simulate real-world engineering practices and the challenges that come with everyday automotive problems. Student teams have to complete a project from start to finish, beginning with the initial design and ending with a fully tested Baja car ready for racing.

Contes says the competition mirrors what CTI teaches students everyday: to learn through making and real-world innovation.

“The competition is set up to take students through industry-standard practices,” Contes said. “Having opportunities like this for students makes the transition to industry that much easier. When they graduate, they are prepared to take on challenges that every engineer faces when seeing a project through from beginning to end.”

The team’s efforts are made possible by the state-of-the-art equipment available for student use in the engineering program at CTI.

“We have one of the best engineering labs in the state, if not the best one,” Contes said. “CTI has been fitted with the equipment to do all of the hands-on work that is so critical to engineering. These guys go from laying out a design on their laptops to cutting the materials and bending, welding, painting, testing and presenting them. It’s a total education made possible by the facilities in our program.”

The Sun Devil Motorsports team placed first out of all Arizona colleges. Overall, the team placed 17th out of 87 teams, compared to last year’s ranking of 37th place.

The competition is broken up into five events to test the overall design of each Baja. These events consist of a four-hour endurance race, an acceleration race, a hill climb, a maneuverability test and a rock crawl. Students also give an engineering and sales presentation to a panel of judges, just as they would if they manufactured a vehicle in the industry.

Among the requirements for enrollment in the competition is the use of a 10-horsepower engine, given to all teams by Briggs & Stratton Corporation. This levels the playing field for all teams and creates a unique engineering design test. Cars must also pass a strict specification test regarding the design and manufacturing.

Funding for manufacturing the team's Baja comes from community donations, sponsorships and assistance from ASU. Because high rankings in the competition relate to more industry sponsorships, Contes hopes for the team to reach first place next year, in order to be fully funded through sponsorships.

Contes and other faculty are beginning the preliminary planning of creating a test track south of the Polytechnic campus. Although this plan has yet to be finalized, Contes sees it as a critical component of the team’s success.

“The key to manufacturing a great vehicle is testing it and seeing where the weaknesses are. Once we have a test track, we will have an advantage that not many other universities have, and it will provide all students with a place to test their designs,” Contes said.

Because the Baja design and competition requires so much interdisciplinary interaction, Contes invites students of all majors on the Polytechnic campus to join Polytechnic’s Society of Automotive Engineers club and add to the team’s overall success.

“Not only are we always accepting mechanical engineering students, but we need electrical engineers, manufacturing engineers, entrepreneurship majors – any major can be of assistance,” he said. “The competition really does lend itself to cross-major interaction and we want other students, male and female, to get involved.”

Written by Sydney B. Donaldson

W. P. Carey School, Mayo Clinic team up to offer dual degree

July 31, 2013

Mayo Clinic is known as a nonprofit worldwide leader in medical care, research and education. Now, a select number of students from the Mayo Medical School are participating in a cutting-edge program that allows them to get both their M.D. degree from Mayo Medical School, and an MBA from the highly-ranked W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University.

“This program is helping to educate some of the brightest medical minds of our future in such a way that they will be more aware of the business side of medicine, the patient experience and the costs for us, the taxpayers,” says Amy Hillman, W. P. Carey School dean. student kneeling beside a child Download Full Image

Michele Halyard, vice dean of the Mayo Medical School – Arizona Campus, says, “The collaboration between Mayo Medical School and the W. P. Carey School of Business brings valuable synergies to the education of both future physicians and business leaders. The dual-degree program provides Mayo Clinic physicians in training with complementary competencies in business management, payer systems and accounting practices. This, along with a superb clinical education at Mayo Medical School, will prepare them to be leaders in the complex world of medicine in the 21st century.”

ASU began a strong collaborative relationship with Mayo Clinic in 2002. This particular joint degree program was launched in 2009 and has turned into a highly desirable choice for just a handful of select students from the Mayo Medical School.

Yingying Kumar was one of the first to graduate from the joint M.D./MBA program. She was looking for a way to supplement her strong medical education with a business background to help her stand out in the job market.

“I realized that the business and leadership skills I would learn in the MBA program could help me advance to a higher position in a clinic, or even run my own practice in the future,” says Kumar. “I got a better understanding of roles and how hospitals run. I also got the perspective of non-medical students from my business classmates. I think the MBA will help me keep the patients’ voice in consideration at all times.”

Students who take the dual-degree program spend two years at the Mayo Medical School. Then they spend one or two years in the W. P. Carey School’s MBA program, currently ranked top 30 in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. They return to medical school afterward to finish up their studies. The whole experience is facilitated by both schools to be virtually seamless for the Mayo students who qualify.

“I first began considering this program after volunteering in Honduras on a medical service trip and learning that the villagers we helped had little or no access to health care,” says Mayo M.D./W. P. Carey MBA student Jack Jeng. “We visited an empty rural medical clinic abandoned by its staff because it did not have a sustainable business model. That helped me realize that a successful health care organization needs more than a great medical facility, dedicated professionals and good intentions. Proper planning and smart business principles are also required to ensure patients continue to benefit from high-quality care, something I personally experienced at the Mayo Clinic.”

Jeng, who has already completed the MBA portion of the joint program, adds, “I was blown away by the opportunities and support at the W. P. Carey School of Business. They offered me valuable knowledge and experience I hope to use throughout my career. As a future physician with business understanding, I aspire not only to help people directly, but also to make meaningful contributions to improve the lives of countless patients who aren’t actually sitting in front of me.”