2011 SAE Baja Team

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The 2011 team will look to build and improve on last year's design.Six Geneva College engineering majors will try to roll over the competition at this year′s Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Baja Series. The Baja Series is an engineering design competition that seeks to replicate actual engineering projects with their associated problems by having teams build a prototype of an off-road recreational vehicle. Teams must design, build, test, promote, generate financial support and compete with their own vehicle. On June 8-11, these six students will take part in the Baja Competition at the Caterpillar Edwards Demonstration Facility in Peoria, IL.

The SAE Mini Baja Competition began in 1976 at the University of South Carolina and has since grown to six competitions: three in North America, and one each in Brazil, Korea and South Africa, with over 500 total entries. It has become one of the premier engineering design series for university teams. This is Geneva′s second year entering the contest, with last year′s team placing 55th out of 85 participants.

The 2011 Geneva Baja SAE Team consists of two advisors, Dr. David Che and Mr. Dave Clark, and six members: Sarah Garlow, Christian Hosbach, Brad Mutschler, Oliver Onufer, Clinton Bettner, and Alyssa Pogozelec.

"Our team is like a play. Each person has a role, but like all masterpieces everybody′s different roles come together to create what makes the masterpiece so amazing," said Sarah Garlow.

The GT-2 is this year′s model for the competition. The vehicle builds off last year′s frame, with some minor adjustments. The team decided to re-design the steering, brakes and drive train. As the semester progresses, the team is realizing areas that can be improved upon by integrating other majors into the project. One current team member, Clinton Bettner, is actually a business major, but is helping by finding racing sponsorship and designing the team′s website.

"The current members want to expand the SAE experience with anyone on campus who is willing to learn," Garlow said. In order to accomplish this goal, the team is starting a club through SAE International that will be established next year. All students from any major are welcome to join. For more information, e-mail Sarah Garlow at with "Club Interest" in the subject line. Include name, year, mailbox number and major in the e-mail.

And there are still opportunities for those who have Baja on the brain to support the 2011 team. Organizers are in special need of help with financing and building the Baja vehicle itself. Students from all majors are encouraged to participate. Interested students should e-mail Sarah Garlow with "Baja Help" in the subject line and tell her in what capacity they will be able to help. Support for the 2011 SAE Baja Team can also be shown by buying a t-shirt, which the current team is selling for $10 ($11 for XXL). E-mail Sarah Garlow with "T-shirt order" in the subject line for more information.

- Christine Carugati ′11