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Clarkson Team Finishes Fourth In Mini Baja Competition

Clarkson University’s Mini Baja team placed fourth in the 25th Annual SAE Mini-Baja East competition held recently in Fort Jackson, S.C.

Mini Baja is an intercollegiate engineering design competition for undergraduate and graduate engineering students. Sponsored by the Society for Automotive Engineers, Mini Baja simulates real-world engineering design projects and their related challenges. Each team competes to design, build, test, promote and race an all-terrain, amphibious vehicle.

Clarkson amassed 1,045 points in the competition, putting them ahead of such schools as Rochester Institute of Technology, Auburn University, Syracuse University and Georgia Tech.

“Fourth place is a good, solid run,” said Mechanical & Aeronautical Engineering Professor Steven W. Yurgartis of Potsdam, the team’s adviser. “The car ran very well. We spent some long nights down in South Carolina doing final preparations on the car, but when we got it on the track, everything worked beautifully--no breakdowns, no problems.”

The fourth-place showing is the school’s fifth top-10 finish in six years and their third top-five finish in four years.

“We have a strong team with strong tradition,” said Yurgartis. “It also illustrates that the school provides excellent support. We have the budget, we have the space, and we attract excellent students. This year’s team was a superb group of young engineers.”

Students who participated in the competition included mechanical and aeronautical engineering majors Paul A. Bromley ’03 (Newtown, Conn.), Devin M. Dilley ’02 (Grand Island, NY), Eric A. Gessner ’04 (Hurley, N.Y.), Jason A. Hoffman ’04 (Mingo, Ohio), Jonathan P. Ingraham ’03 (Guilford, Conn.), Peter Jones ’02 (Rome, NY), Eric A. Lapp ’04 (Batavia, N.Y.), Christopher A. Preston ’02 (Romulus, N.Y.) and Thomas J. Thomas III ’02 (Rome, N.Y.); and chemical engineering majors Heather L. Crossman ’03 (New Bedford, Mass.) and Samuel J. St. John ’03 (Argyle, N.Y.).

Thirty-three colleges and universities from the United States, Canada, Mexico and Egypt entered the three-day event at Fort Jackson, the site of the first competition in 1977. Teams were judged in two categories: dynamic, which put each car through two days of testing to determine acceleration, top speed, land and water maneuvering capabilities, braking power and towing capability; and static, in which team members made presentations on the cars’ design, its cost and its safety features. The third and final day of competition featured an endurance race in which team vehicles lapped a 2.5-mile course of sand, woods, and water for four hours.

The Mini Baja team is part of Clarkson University's SPEED (Students Projects for Engineering Experience and Design) program, which promotes multidisciplinary project based learning opportunities for more than 200 undergraduates annually. SPEED projects involve engineering design and analysis, project fabrication, and the enhancement of professional competencies such as budget management, effective teamwork and communication skills. SPEED receives financial support from Eastman Kodak Company, General Electric, Corning Incorporated and Alcoa Inc.

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Annie Harrison, Director of Media Relations, at 315-268-6764 or]

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