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MIT student blogger Hamsika C. '13

Updates by Hamsika C. '13

exciting, exciting!

First: Hello! Long time, no talk. I feel like each of my entries this year has started off in the same way: “I’m so sorry for having disappeared off the blogosphere!” And it’s true – I am sorry! I don’t know what’s gotten into me :(

Second: this weekend is going to be EXCITING! I know of at least five or six MIT ’12s currently in the running for Rhodes Scholarships. In case you missed this or this, let me update you: so far, 44 MIT students have won Rhodes Scholarships, and 7 have been in the last four years! Keep this year’s eligibles in your thoughts this weekend as they go through the Rhodes intervew process :)

Third: Life updates. My life has been filled with learning experiences recently; case in point:

  • as it turns out, it’s not a good idea to accidentally push down on your laptop screen, since they tend to crack.
  • sitting in the very center of an exam hall when you happen to have a bajillion questions about the exam isn’t the smartest idea; in fact, the professor might even ask you to get up and move to the front, to make it easier for him to come to you and answer questions.
  • the MIT career services center is actually amazing at editing CVs/resumes – huh, who would’ve guessed.
  • taking 6.01 (intro to EECS) with a bunch of sophomores/freshmen is great, particularly since they often know more about coding than you do.
  • all-nighters are hard to pull
  • there is such a thing as too much caffeine
  • MIT alumni are amazing – and very responsive to email :)

Fourth: I want to share an entry I wrote a while back but never got a chance to publish; it’s about MIT’s Solar Electric Vehicle Team and their recent participation in the World Solar Challenge. Note that this is slightly outdated, as I wrote it while the team was competing in Australia. They ended up finishing 15th overall – congrats, SEVT!

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“An epic journey is about to begin: over 40 teams will depart Darwin, Australia on October 16,
2011, and will strive to be the first to reach the city of Adelaide, 3000 km south of Darwin. Among the
teams competing in this event, the World Solar Challenge, is the MIT Solar Electric Vehicle Team,
which has been preparing for this competition for about two years now. Twelve MIT affiliates (graduate
students, undergraduate students, and alumni) are in Darwin at the moment, preparing for Sunday’s
competition. The pressure is on to get MIT’s car ready for the race!

Alix de Monts, a junior at MIT majoring in Mechanical Engineering with a concentration in Energy,
is wide awake at 4:30 am on a Wednesday morning in Australia and speaks excitedly about the
experience of working with the Solar Electric Vehicle Team. She describes every team member as a “jack
of all trades,” adding, “we do all the work our selves. We have a core group of very dedicated members.
Everyone is involved in everything.”

MIT’s Solar Electric Vehicle Team was first established 26 years ago and currently maintains a set
of 12-15 actively involved MIT students and alumni. The team has changed with the times, adapting its
design approach to the novel technologies available and seeking sponsorship from a variety of places,
the biggest of which are Ford, Konica Minolta, Infinesse, 3M, and MIT’s Edgerton Cetner. Today, the
team works with a total budget of $300,000, most of which accounts for in-kind donations such as time,
technology and resources. The SEVT car itself is valued at $150,000.

Alix describes variety of challenges that the team has had to overcome, the most significant of
which took place this past summer. SEVT originally intended Summer 2011 to be dedicated to testing
the car and working out minor kinks; however, on the second to last day of testing, the car strayed off
the road, flipped, and suffered immense damage. A summer that ought to have been relaxed and
leisurely suddenly became intense and stressful: the team was forced to start from scratch and rebuild
their creation.

Now following a number 80-hour weeks and sometimes 72-hour days, the team is gearing up to
compete and is hoping to win the World Solar Challenge. They will take on teams from all over the
world, including Canada, the United Kingdom, Japan, and of course, Australia itself. The event
is geared towards endurance, and SEVT has put their utmost effort into making their car the best it can
be – even at the expense of comfort! The car does not have air conditioning, and in fact, the driver sits
on an unpadded, aluminum seat. Thankfully, these cars will never hit the markets and in fact are not
meant to be for commercial use; however, as Alix mentions, bits and pieces of cars’ design may be taken
up and incorporated into future vehicles, thereby bettering the automobile industry.

All in all, the MIT Solar Electric Vehicle team has a very action-packed and exciting few weeks
ahead of them! When asked if she has any last thoughts or comments, Alix says:
“To MIT students: We’re always looking for new members. Shoot us an e-mail at
[email protected] if you’re interested in joining. We’ll take people from all majors and any
experience levels. All you need to do well on this team is dedication and hard work. We’ll teach
you the rest.”

And also:
“Everyone should check out our website: mitsolar.com as well as our blog:
mitsolar.blogspot.com. We also have a Facebook and a Twitter ! If anyone wants to show their
support for the team we have a great “Adopt-a-Cell” program: http://solar-cars.scripts.mit.edu/
sponsorship/adoptacell.php.”
Best of luck to Alix and her teammates! Look out for more on the MIT SEVT in the months to come!

___

That’s it for now! I have a couple other entries planned (IAP plans! Yay!), and I’ll post them within the next few weeks :) See yaaa.

2 responses to “Updates”

  1. anonymous says:

    Who are the people in the running for the Rhodes? That’s super exciting. Do you think you’re going to apply next year?

    SEVT and the people in it are awesome :DDD

  2. Squirt '08 says:

    And the result is out.

    Self-amusement: Is there such a thing as “theoretical” international studies? (ahem comparative literature)