We are a team of six young men and women competing in the World Finals of the F1 in Schools STEM Challenge in Singapore, this September. This is the first of our bi-weekly newsletters which will aim to give you an insight into our team, this competition and our sponsors. We hope you enjoy!
What is the F1 in Schools STEM Challenge?
As one of the most competitive in the world, this challenge has over 17,000 schools from 44 countries compete annually for the podium and title of World Champions. To do this, we need to effectively run our own Formula One team. Everything from the design, analysis and manufacturing of our car, to the development of a brand and marketing strategies, must be undertaken by us. Hence, this competition provides us with a holistic learning opportunity to gain knowledge and experience in multiple STEM industries, and if one is passionate enough, to launch a career.
What's happening at Entente?
We are just under 12 weeks from the competition and preparations are well under way! Our first car prototype is undergoing rigorous testing, as are various other components, as our engineers prepare for the next stage of refinement. The school holidays are approaching and bringing with them an intense period of progression as we begin, improve, and finalise several project elements. It is an exciting and busy time here at Entente!
Who are we? - When two become one
Entente is a collaboration team between Methodist Ladies' College and Haileybury College; an alliance of previous opponents. Until qualification for the World Finals, we competed as two separate, and successful, teams - Xeno Motion and Ignite Racing. We are comprised of three students from each school, across Year 9 and 10, with an equal split of young men and women who share the passion and motivation an endeavour such as this requires. Now, we have combined our abilities and passions to represent Australia as best we can on the world stage.
We believe in a future of inspired young thinkers, innovators, leaders and influencers who will mitigate the risks of our ever-growing, ever-changing society. To this end, we believe that by encouraging the next generation, we are inspiring the future. Entente is working towards this vision in a number of ways, including a mentoring program where students from Years 5-9 are learning to build their first car, or are preparing to compete at this year's State Finals.
Behind the Name
'Entente' has its etymology in the French word for 'understanding' and is defined as 'a friendly understanding or informal alliance'. This precisely embodies us - our two teams have competed head-to-head so far, yet are now collaborating and have become one, stronger team. Quite simply, we are an entente - an alliance for a better future, and our own success, of course! We are Entente - Australia's collaboration team.
Meet the Team
Check back here each fortnight to meet another member of our team!
Name: Annabel Sutherland
What is your role within Entente?
As the Structural Engineer and Marketing Supervisor, I am responsible for the design of our pit display, the running of our team's social media accounts, and assisting in our search for sponsorship.
What is your favourite part of this competition?
There are so many different aspects of this competition, so naming one is hard! I would say that being in a team with young, like-minded individuals, all striving for one goal is exciting; we can rely on and trust in each other to fulfil everyone's duties to the highest standard.
What are the two main things you have learnt so far?
I feel I have developed many skills that I believe could only be achieved through this experience. My ability to problem solve has improved through the process of designing pit displays. I initially struggled to understand how I could turn my 2D sketch into a 3D model. Eventually, however, I worked it out and now I am confident with my CAD modelling abilities. From a marketing perspective, I strongly believe that my communication skills and confidence have both improved when it comes to public speaking. I used to barely be able to stand up in front of a class and speak without becoming anxious. Now, through having to speak with CEOs and businesses, I have gained some confidence through the strategies of my team members and their advice on how they execute an appropriate speech.
What are you most looking forward to in Singapore?
Apart from competing, I am really looking forward to the Singaporean food and Universal Studios, though particularly the latter as I absolutely love theme parks!
If you could win any of the awards, excluding World Champions, which would it be and why?
I think winning best newcomer award would be quite a feat, as it would show that we have the standard to compete, innovate and produce high-quality project elements, all in our first season and for the first time with each other!
Do you have any advice for anyone looking to take part in this competition?
Some advice I do have is to definitely use time management effectively. Whether you create a document of deadlines, a Gantt chart, or something completely different, find the best way to monitor your progress and ensure it won't turn into a last-minute rush. I know that both teams (Xeno Motion and Ignite Racing) left our portfolios and verbal presentations too late for the National Finals, so it is great that we are constantly working to avoid a situation like last time! So, it is integral to use your time effectively and keep your eye on the timeline; race day creeps up pretty fast!
Mentoring the Future
The benefits of mentorships in professional careers is understood, yet it is when applied to the young men and women of today that their significance is underestimated.
During my early school life, I was a shy, quiet, average student. However, through several key influencers I soon grew and became a confident young man with a passion for learning. Now, I wonder whether I would be where I am today without the guidance and support of these people.
I do understand that is this different to the career-orientated mentorships that accelerate growth within professionals today. However, the benefits are corresponding and show the true value of such relationships. Taking part in this competition has allowed me to realise their significance, for I am now exposed to a variety of situations. I am receiving guidance and advice from several people in my endeavour, and I myself am mentoring others.
As Entente believes in inspiring the next generation of entrepreneurs, leaders and innovators, we are pursuing this by helping students in Years 5-9 build their first car, learn how to market themselves, and for some of them, prepare to compete in this year's State Finals. The passion I see in children as young as 10 as they watch their car take shape is incredible. But we can only do so much.
There is a national push for STEM industries and related careers occurring, but its success is reliant on its focus - my generation. Technology is second nature to us almost by the time we can read and write. To really engage us, we want experience. There are scores of young men and women eager and ready to apply themselves, eager and ready to learn.
I am sure each of you reading this can remember at least one person who kickstarted your career or helped you out of that rut. Now imagine if that mentorship and arrived at an earlier stage in your life. We need your help, the professionals of today, to inspire the professionals of tomorrow.
Now, more than ever, it is essential that we promote STEM to students - do this by helping them learn. Granted, there are many teenagers who would rather not be involved, but I can guarantee that there are many more who do.
How are you going to contribute to tomorrow's society?
How are you going to inspire the next generation?
Tom Vulcan, Team and Marketing Manager