Racing Lounge

Best practices and teamwork for student competitions

Introducing the team – Part 1

Posted by Christoph Hahn,

In this blog post I have the great pleasure to introduce the MathWorks student competition team. We are 8 folks located in Boston (US), Cambridge (UK) and Munich (DE) with a key mission to equip student teams around the globe with software, training, and mentoring to tackle the same technical issues as professional engineers. Student competitions are often leading the way when it comes to new technologies, just look at the SpaceX Hyperloop, RoboCup or Formula Student Driverless competitions. Thus, we can spend our time working in trending areas such as robotics, unmanned vehicles, automated (and non-automated) driving cars.

In this first part, I am going to introduce Swarooph,  Lauren, myself and Helen. Sarah, Sebastian, Connell and Sandeep will be featured in the second part in a few weeks and we will be introducing new team members as they join.

Swarooph

#DreamTeam #SimulinkForLife #FordMustang #DesignatedCarDriverOfTheTeam

What is your role in the student competitions team? What competitions are you focusing on?

I develop and deliver trainings for student competitions. Since most of my work is collaborative with other members of the student competitions team, I work on almost all the competitions. So, if you are looking for training for a competition or MathWorks software, let me know!

What big project are you currently working on?

I have been working on the Mobile Robotics Training project along with Sandeep and Connell. These materials show how to use MATLAB and Simulink to design autonomous behavior for your mobile ground robots through simulation and hardware prototyping. It contains about six hours of training content that you can learn at your own pace.

Which recommendation would you give students thinking about student competitions and career paths?

With respect to student competitions, think incrementally. See how you can build your team and expertise year over year with solid knowledge transfer rather than trying to bite a large chunk of the competition tasks. For career paths, most of the competitions you participate in have corporate sponsors. Talk to their representatives first hand to get all your questions answered. So you can evaluate your options appropriately. If you see a MathWorks booth, come visit us!

Why do you like working in education and collaborating with student teams?

EDU moves fast in terms of solving current technology challenges when compared to commercial which is always trying to play catch up. So, I feel like I am making instant difference by helping students and teachers be better at what they do by providing trainings and workshops. This also means when the students take that next step towards a professional career, they are set up for success.

Fun Facts

  • I am a fan of metal music. \m/
  • I love driving my mustang.
  • I play cricket when weather in New England allows it.

Lauren

#Teamwork #WorkHardPlayHard

What is your role in the student competitions team? What competitions are you focusing on?

I manage the team.  I’m responsible for creating, implementing and optimizing a global, scalable and strategically focused student competition program.

What big project are you currently working on?

We just signed up to support a new competition called SAE Autodrive Challenge. I am working closely with our development team and application engineering organization to ensure we can fully support and provide mentorship to the 8 teams in this 3-year competition.

Which recommendation would you give students thinking about student competitions and career paths?

There is no better way to get hands-on real world experience.  Students with competition experience become employees who are productive on the job from day one. I know this first hand because I’ve hired a few competition participants who work on the team.

Why do you like working in education and collaborating with student teams?

I always wanted to be a teacher, but also enjoyed the business side of things.  I’ve been working in the EDU market for almost 15 years now and I would not have it any other way!

Fun Facts

  • I played division one soccer in college – I love being a part of team.
  • I was at the super bowl this year and watched Tom Brady and the Patriots win the most amazing game ever.

Christoph

#racing #racingLounge #racingLoungeGuy #combustionVsElectric #selfDrivingRacecars #FastestCarDriverOfTheTeam

What is your role in the student competitions team? What competitions are you focusing on?

I am responsible for the support of automotive student competitions*. I work hard to serve as a relevant and helpful development partner to student teams worldwide. I am the inventor of the racing lounge video series and blog. In the last three years, I have created around 50 videos and have helped to develop the Student Competition: Physical Modeling Training with Swarooph and Sebastian. As part of strategic planning I work on increasing the reach of MathWorks’ support. The more people find our online resources or personal conversations with us helpful, the happier I am.

*Did you know that MathWorks is supporting 13 automotive student competitions around the globe? See the student competitions support webpage.

What big project are you currently working on?

We just signed up to support SAE AutoDrive Challenge. As a technical lead for this competition, I will work with different groups at the MathWorks to support the participating teams in the competition and to develop online training materials for automated driving. MathWorks just launched the Automated Driving System Toolbox™ which is a great tool for developers in assisted and automated driving. I am looking forward to seeing more and more student teams building relevant skills on that field with support provided by MathWorks.

Which recommendation would you give students thinking about student competitions …

Do it! Answering to a question was never easier. As a former member and adviser of team Global Formula Racing, I gained hands-on experience in Formula Student. “For me, the value student competitions offer in providing the practical skills and experience needed for future careers is immeasurable.  But please don’t get me wrong: understanding the theory and performing well in exams is a prerequisite for performing well in extracurricular activities. The knowledge you obtain in the classroom is the backbone of your skillset.  The skills acquired in a student competition are the cherry on the cake.” (Source: Blog post July 5th, 2017)

and career paths?

Take the time to think through your options and allow yourself to listen to your gut feeling. What feels right is most certainly a good path to choose.

Why do you like working in education and collaborating with student teams?

Working with motivated learners is very rewarding. I feel, I am impacting some great developments. Student teams to me are the most honest, most motivated and most pro-active customers. I suggest you watch some of the racing lounge videos where teams present their latest and greatest developments – how could this not be fun to work with guys like them.  I chose to pursue a Ph.D. degree mainly because of my love for research and expanding my knowledge not at all because of title and authority. A very similar motivation holds true for the work I am doing at MathWorks.

Fun facts

  • Like to climb, ski, bike and hike mountains. Elbrus (5642m) is currently the highest one I have done.
  • I fly single-engine airplanes and gliders.
  • I am a nice guy, the more I like you the more sarcastic I will be.

Helen

#TShirtPolice #DrivesWithPurpose

What is your role in the student competitions team? What competitions are you focusing on?

I am working on the logistics for all MathWorks EMEA student competitions specifically Formula Student Germany, Formula Student (UK) and Formula Student Spain.

What big project are you currently working on?

My current focus is on a student competition alumni project. I am interested to see what career paths students take.

Which recommendation would you give students thinking about student competitions and career paths?

Hands on experience is one of the best things you can put on your CV. Especially if you have experience with industry standard tools like MATLAB. Also, by competing in student competitions you’ll get access to a lot of industry contacts.

Why do you like working in education and collaborating with student teams?

The students we meet are enthusiastic and passionate about what they do, they have new and exciting ideas. So it’s interesting to see what they come up with and where they end up.

Fun facts

  • My family is full of inventors including the guy who invented the Dyson hand dryer and the Raspberry Pi.
  • I’m a coke zero addict and can’t function in the afternoons without it!

That were three of the great people that I am collaborating with to support student competitions all around the world. Stay tuned on this blog to not miss the better half of the team.

Cheers Christoph

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