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Experimental Vehicles Program Creates Lasting Partnerships with the National and International Industries

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

INT. Engineering Education: Developments, Innovations, Partnerships, and Implementations

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Page Count


Page Numbers

23.574.1 - 23.574.6



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Paper Authors


Saeed D. Foroudastan Middle Tennessee State University

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Saeed Foroudastan is the Associate Dean for the College of Basic and Applied Sciences (CBAS). The CBAS oversees 10 departments at Middle Tennessee State University. He is also the current Director for the Master’s of Science in Professional Science program and a professor of engineering technology at MTSU. Foroudastan received his B.S. in civil engineering, his M.S. in civil engineering, and his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Tennessee Technological University. Additionally, he has six years of industrial experience as a Senior Engineer and 18 years of academic experience as a professor, Associate Professor, and Assistant Professor. Foroudastan’s academic experience includes teaching at Tennessee Technological University and Middle Tennessee State University in the areas of civil engineering, mechanical
engineering, and engineering technology. He has actively advised undergraduate and graduate students, alumni, and minority students in academics and career guidance. Foroudastan has also served as Faculty Advisor for SAE, Mechanical Engineering Technology, Pre-engineering, ASME, Experimental Vehicles Program (EVP), and Tau Alpha Pi Honors Society. In addition to Foroudastan’s teaching experience, he also has performed extensive research and published numerous technical papers. He has secured more than $1 million in the form of both internal and external grants and research funding. Foroudastan is the faculty advisor, coordinator, and primary fundraiser for EVP teams entering national research project competitions such as the Formula SAE Collegiate Competition, the Baja SAE Race, the SolarBike Rayce,
the Great Moonbuggy Race, and the Solar Boat Collegiate Competition. For his concern for and dedication to his students, Foroudastan received MTSU awards such as the 2002-03 Outstanding Teaching Award, the 2005-06 Outstanding Public Service Award, and the 2007 Faculty Advisor of the Year Award.
He received the Excellence in Engineering Education Award and Faculty Advisor Award from the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE). He was also nominated for the MTSU 2005 and 2009-11 Outstanding Research Award. He received two Academic Excellence awards from the Tennessee Board of Region in
2010-11. Foroudastan has also won many College of Basic and Applied Science awards. In addition to this, Foroudastan also reviews papers for journals and conference proceedings of ASEE, ASEE-SE, and ASME, and he has been a session moderator for several professional conferences.

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Courtney Thompson Middle Tennessee State University

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Currently Courtney Thompson is obtaining a master's of science in Professional Science with a concentration in Biotechnology at Middle Tennessee State University. Thompson is completing her graduate assistantship with the Director of the Masters of Science in Professional Science program Dr. Saeed Foroudastan and with the Associate Dean of the College of Basic and Applied Sciences. Thompson assists with the preparation and submission of grants and publications among other duties. Thompson is also involved with the Master's of Science in Professional Science club and the Graduate Student Association. In addition due to my previous experience as a research assistant at Vanderbilt University she has been published in Diabetologi and other jounals.

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Best Universal Practices in Creating and Fostering Industry & Academic PartnershipsInternational Collaborations, Experiences, Partnerships, Service LearningPreparing engineering students for international practiceExperimental Vehicles Program Creates Lasting Partnerships with the National and International Industries The Experimental Vehicles Program (EVP) was created in 2004 as an umbrella programfor five different undergraduate experimental vehicle design teams. These projects consist of theSolar Vehicle, Moonbuggy, Baja SAE, Formula SAE, and Solar Boat. The goal of the EVP is tofoster undergraduate student development through construction of experimental vehicles with theguidance of faculty mentors and partnerships with both national and international industryleaders. Students work in peer-led teams to annually design, construct, and test novel vehicledesigns for participation in national and international competitions. Due to the competitivenature of each of the events, students must use cutting edge technology and design methods inorder to field the very best entries possible. Often times this means creating partnerships withindustry leaders who help to mentor the students from the design conception, to the fabrication,through the manufacturing of each vehicle. These partnerships benefit both the students and thecompanies; students are able to create real-world contacts and gain a working knowledge of theindustry that they cannot learn in the classroom. Furthermore, the students are able to use thecontacts to garner equipment such as solar panels and wheels. Likewise, the companies are ableto receive recognition at national and international competition as program sponsors areadvertised on the competition vehicles. Moreover the industries are able to build relationshipswith future employees who have real-world experience and who have become intimatelyinvolved with specialized technology such as “green energy”. Each EVP project performs a vital function in the professional development of students.The projects provide a forgiving environment in which students can test their classroomknowledge in a real-world setting and learn important skills such as leadership, effectivecommunication, and working as an effective team member. Furthermore, the students in the EVPdevelop highly versatile and qualified skill sets that will allow them to fill various positionswithin the workplace upon graduation. In the past 90% of EVP graduates have been able toobtain highly regarded national and international positions upon graduation due to their real-world working experience gained throughout their involvement in the EVP.

Foroudastan, S. D., & Thompson, C. (2013, June), Experimental Vehicles Program Creates Lasting Partnerships with the National and International Industries Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--19588

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