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For Starkville Daily News
At the start of the 2011 fall semester, Mississippi State University students began the newest competition in the series of Advanced Vehicle Technology Competitions (AVTC) sponsored by General Motors (GM) and Department of Energy (DOE).
This three year challenge, EcoCar2, is the latest in DOEâ€™s series of AVTCâ€™s, and Mississippi State was among 15 universities selected to compete out many that applied.
As a headline sponsor GM donates many resources to each team, one of those being a GM employee dedicated to mentoring a specific university. Each GM mentor is assigned to help guide the teams through the competition by providing advice and assistance in locating other valuable resources within GM.
Mississippi Stateâ€™s GM mentor, Sarah Vano, visited Starkville for the first time.
â€śThis has been a great opportunity for our mentor to meet with our students and gain valuable insight on our strengths as a team as well as the areas we will have to work harder in. It is also important for Sarah to see our facilities and have an understanding of the tools and resources that we will have available throughout the three years of the EcoCAR 2 competitionâ€ť, stated Lee Pratt, MSU EcoCAR 2 Outreach Coordinator.
During the visit, Vano presented the team with a $25,000 check from GM as â€śseed moneyâ€ť to help the team get started with developing their futuristic vehicle. Students have begun research that will aid them in making decisions about their vehicle design and how that funding will be used.
The team feels that Vanoâ€™s knowledge will be extremely helpful through this process. Team leader Matt Doude said, â€śSarah will be an invaluable resource to our team over the three years of this competition.Â She has already begun to help our team with technical issues, and more importantly, she is recruiting our students for future jobs at GM.Â More and more MSU graduates are having the opportunity to start their careers in highly competitive positions in the hub of the auto industry in Detroit.â€ť
Throughout the remainder of this year the team will work to create their hybrid vehicle design and will then compete against the other participating teams in May of 2012 at Year One Finals.