Transmission accomplished: First ever Best in TX STEM competition
Before more than 435,000 fans arrived on Circuit of The Americas campus for the 2022 Formula One Aramco United States Grand Prix, a quiet but exciting event was occurring in one of the hospitality suites. For weeks, STEM students across Texas had been preparing a submission for the COTA STEM program’s pilot competition: Best in TX STEM.
The Best in TX STEM competition required students to work as teams to design a race car part and complete a strategic worksheet simulating race weekend operations. Over 150 students participated and more than 50 high school and college students from schools in Texas gathered on the morning of Friday, October 21, to celebrate the time and dedication they put into their projects and to hear from successful professionals in STEM fields.
The event began by recognizing every school that participated in the competition. Students along with teachers from Westwood High School, Lake Travis High School, CAST STEM High School, Bastrop High School, Del Valle High School, Westlake High School, UT Austin, Texas A&M, and Texas Christian University were all acknowledged and applauded.
Next, amazing guest speakers like Brian McManus of REAL ENGINEERING, Ryan Shehan, a local F4 driver, and Jost Capito, Team Principal for Williams, made appearances to inspire students in their career pursuits and share valuable experiences from their personal journeys. Students not only learned about the importance of STEM in the world of motorsports but also heard about the speakers’ favorite memories throughout their careers.
When the moment to present the winning teams with trophies arrived, teams eagerly anticipated the results. Team AggieTauri from Texas A&M and Shockwave from Lake Travis High School cheered as they made their way to the front of the room to receive their trophies and medals. Pictures were taken and students expressed their joy as they realized they would be enjoying complimentary admission to the F1 USGP for the entire weekend!
The event concluded, but the students’ day was just getting started. Students and their chaperones watched the Masters Endurance Legends Qualifying Session from the Circuit Suite as they enjoyed delicious, complimentary breakfast tacos. After the first track activity concluded, students made their way up to COTA’s iconic Observation Tower to appreciate COTA’s 3.4-mile track from a bird’s eye view. Later, students had a special meet and greet with Valkyrie, a services company that applies science to data to solve challenges, to learn from their expertise in AI and motorsports.
The most affordable ticket in F1 not only gave program participants USGP event entry for $20 on Friday, but also created new F1 fans and inspired students by showcasing a unique avenue to pursue a STEM career: motorsports.
COTA looks forward to next year’s Best in TX Competition, and the continued opportunity to excite and educate the importance of STEM in our world!