The Honda STEAM Connections Tour makes a stop at UA Wednesday, April 19, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Approximately 340 area middle and high school students are expected to participate — looking at motorsport vehicles, watching the debut of Crimson Racing’s 2017 Formula SAE vehicle and hearing from 2014 Indy 500 and 2012 IndyCar Series Champion, Ryan Hunter-Reay.
The event is designed to highlight science, technology, engineering, arts and math, known as STEAM, and how they are pivotal in motorsports and the automotive industry.
“The main thing is to see the sophisticated science and technology in motorsports and for students to see that there is a potential career in motorsports for people who are capable in those areas,” said Dr. Paul Puzinauskas, UA associate professor of mechanical engineering.
The 2017 Crimson Racing Formula SAE vehicle will be revealed at 1:45 p.m. in front of Hardaway Hall on 7th Avenue. The team will take the vehicle to the Michigan International Speedway for the Formula SAE Michigan Competition May 10-13. The student team designs and manufactures a formula style car for the competition each year. The team’s 2016 car will be on display throughout the day.
At 11 a.m., Hunter-Reay will arrive at the Ferguson Center in a street-legal, two-seat Indy car with former Alabama defensive lineman Dalvin Tomlinson, who is projected to be an early-round selection in the upcoming NFL Draft. Media is invited to tape the ride and conduct brief interviews of program participants.
At 11:30, Hunter-Reay will speak to the students about STEAM subjects. Following his talk, he will take part in a Q&A session and an autograph signing.
GreenpowerUSA, a Huntsville-based group that works to advance sustainable engineering and technology through challenging students to design and build eclectic powered race cars, will have a competition EV car on display. The organization’s president, Jacob Boyett, will speak to students about GreenpowerUSA’s objectives. Students will also hear from Nick Durant, Honda performance development engineer.
Before and after the midday talk, the student guests will take tours of engineering labs located in South Engineering Research Center and in Hardaway Hall, including the electro-mechanical systems lab, the engine and combustion lab and the 3D prototyping lab called the Cube.
During the tours, they will see other UA competition teams, including the UA Baja Racing Team, the Tuska UAV Design Team and the Alabama Astrobotics team, demonstrate some of their projects from this school year.
The Honda STEAM Connections Tour of universities across the nation, in its second year, emphasizes the science, technology, engineering, arts, and math that play a critical role in motorsports and automotive development. The tour is organized and managed by STEAM Sports Group.
The University of Alabama, part of The University of Alabama System, is the state’s flagship university. UA shapes a better world through its teaching, research and service. With a global reputation for excellence, UA provides an inclusive, forward-thinking environment and nearly 200 degree programs on a beautiful, student-centered campus. A leader in cutting-edge research, UA advances discovery, creative inquiry and knowledge through more than 30 research centers. As the state’s largest higher education institution, UA drives economic growth in Alabama and beyond.