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Solar Car Team looking for various majors to join effort

people surrounding solar car

The ISU Solar Car Team sends the car off at the Circuit of the Americas race.

The ISU Solar Car Team is looking to expand its roster to help prepare for a national race in July. The team is open to anyone interested and willing to learn. They are seeking those majoring in business, communications, information technology, sustainability, and engineering technology for roles on the team.

“The majority of our members now have been physics majors, involved in the design and improvement of the University’s solar car,” said Richard Pelphrey, a senior physics and computer physics major from LeRoy, Illinois. “We’re looking to build the team for what comes next.”

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The team is an all-volunteer, student effort to race a car powered by solar energy. Illinois State’s team has been recognized nationally for races in the American Solar Car Challenge—stretching more than 1,000 miles across the United States—and the Formula Sun Grand Prix, a national solar car race held at the Circuit of the Americas racetrack in Austin, Texas.

This year the team will take part in the 2019 Formula Sun Grand Prix held July 1-6 in Austin, Texas. Volunteers can help working on the car itself, fundraising, and budgeting as well as helping with logistics and promotion of the ISU Solar Car Team.

“There are a lot of jobs that go into making a solar car and each is just as important as the next,” said Bailey McNulty, a senior physics and computer physics major from Bloomington serves as the team’s president. “Being on the solar car team is a great way for anyone willing to learn to broaden their knowledge and gain the practical experience they can use to get ahead of the curve going into the workforce.”

“It’s a great chance to get to know people from across campus. Plus, you are working on a really cool project that you know could have a long-term impact,” said Alex Plumadore, a sophomore physics and computer physics major from Bloomington who serves as the team’s CFO.

Plumadore, Bailey, and Pelphrey took part in the American Solar Car Challenge last year with the team. “It’s amazing how quiet the car is when it is running,” added Plumadore.

Freshman Glenn Dusing called the team “a little community.” A physics and math major, he said he was originally drawn to work on the car to meet others interested in his fields, but stayed for the diverse skills he is gaining. “For me, it has been a lot of hands-on work that I would not have encountered otherwise,” said the Rockford native. “Plus, I was able to master the 3D printer enough to make a heart-shaped box for my girlfriend.”

On-campus support for the ISU Solar Car Team comes from the University’s Office of Sustainability, the College of Arts and Sciences, and the Department of Physics.

Find more information on the team. Those interested in joining the team can contact isusolarcarteam@gmail.com.