An Anteater Racing Ahead to Her Future

Mechanical engineering student, Cindy Chou, receives the 2006 SAE Rumbaugh Outstanding Student Leader Award

Cindy Chou, a mechanical engineering student who graduated in June with her bachelor’s degree, received the 2006 Rumbaugh Outstanding Student Leader Award from the Society of Automotive Engineers in honor of her excellent leadership skills demonstrated in SAE-related activities.

She will receive a lifetime adult membership, including invitations to future SAE functions, a complimentary trip to the SAE 2007 World Congress meeting, and a monetary stipend. 

As former president of UC Irvine’s SAE chapter, Chou and her fellow members worked together to build a race car for the 2005-06 Formula SAE project.  Beginning in the summer of 2005, this year-long task started with five students, and later grew to 30 team members.

With support from faculty advisors, Professors Derek Dunn-Rankin and Michael McCarthy, as well as assistance from Robert Smith, mechanical and aerospace engineering research lab director, Tim Allison, Wyatt Precision machinist, Ted Ediss, mechanical and aerospace engineering shop manager, Anna Phillips, chairperson of the SoCal SAE Section, as well as several other mentors, the students spent up to 80 hours per week preparing for the competition - designing, manufacturing, and testing their race car.

“As team captain, I experienced an amazing learning curve.  This project combined all of my classroom knowledge I gained during my four years as an undergraduate student, and helped prepare all of us to become professional engineers,” Chou said.

During her time as president, she also worked to increase SAE’s membership at UC Irvine, which doubled from last year, and is now among the largest SAE collegiate chapters nationwide. The UC Irvine chapter participated in a number of events, including the Aero Design West Competition in Palmdale, Calif., and the 2006 Formula West Competition, which took place in Fontana, Calif.

“I plan to stay very active in SAE because it is an important part of my life, and I am confident that it will lead me to my next adventure in engineering,” Chou added.

One day, she hopes to become an engineer for NASCAR, working hands-on in the pit with the racecars.

Chou plans to attend the SAE awards ceremony next April in Detroit, Mich. to accept her prestigious award.


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