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Experimental Vehicles Program Improves Student Performance Through Energy Conversion and Conservation with Hands-on Learning

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2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

ECCD Technical Session 3: Energy and Multidisciplinary

Tagged Division

Energy Conversion and Conservation

Tagged Topic


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Paper Authors


Saeed D. Foroudastan Middle Tennessee State University

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Dr. 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 Masters 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 $2 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 Race, 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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The Experimental Vehicles Program (EVP) at Reginal University is an undergraduate research program consisting of four experiment vehicle projects: the Solar Boat, the NASA Human Lunar Rover, the Formula Hybrid, and the SAE Baja. The EVP is designed to help students develop their professional skills and their classroom knowledge of Energy Conversion and Conservation through hands-on learning, working on projects that could look very similar to what they might work on in their careers. Each of the four teams work to research, design, build, and perfect their vehicles to prepare for their respective competitions. While, all four of the projects participate in competitions, this paper will focus mainly on the Solar Boat project and the NASA Human Lunar Rover project. Both of these projects have been extremely successful, winning many awards each year at their competitions. Since each event is highly competitive, the students must work diligently to design the best of the best and are able to use top of the line technology to do so. The EVP provides a safe environment where students are encouraged to test their ideas and work together to improve them. This allows them to build skills such as teamwork, creativity, and communication. Students are also able to work with faculty mentors and industry partners for guidance and advice. Many times, these relationships turn into lasting connections. Most of these students have no problems securing an excellent job once graduating. Those connections paired with all the skills the students learn on the way provide big advantages when students are ready to enter the workforce. Every year, about 70 students participate in the EVP and are given the opportunity to further their knowledge through hands-on learning.

Foroudastan, S. D. (2020, June), Experimental Vehicles Program Improves Student Performance Through Energy Conversion and Conservation with Hands-on Learning Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34634

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