“This year, we have a better chance of winning than ever before”

“Being a Solar Team member is lots of fun and very educational. This year, we have a better chance of winning than ever before, making the competition even more exciting.” Fourth year Advanced Technology student Jeroen Minnema tells us more. He is currently taking a break in his studies to be a full-time member of the Solar Team Twente.

Solar Team Twente

“After three years I decided to take a break from studying. I wanted to join the Solar Team, as working on the Solar Car seemed like a lot of fun. The application process was intense: I had to take IQ tests, personality tests and complete a case.”

Solar Team Twente is a large team of twenty motivated individuals from different backgrounds. Students from different University of Twente and Saxion University of Applied Sciences degree programmes work together on the team. “It’s the combination of these different academic disciplines that allows us to build the car – every discipline is important. We all want to win, so we push ourselves and each other to the limit. This year, we have a better chance of winning than ever before. Last year we came in second, we were only three minutes behind Delft. What’s three minutes at a distance of 3,000 kilometres? We really have become top competitors. We work with 180 partners, and working with these companies is a great learning experience and a way to establish a large network. I am definitely not doing this to boost my CV, I am doing this because I love it and because I’m learning a lot. I’m sure the experience will look great on my CV, though.”


Photo: Patrick Ooms

Responsibilities

“This year, we’re designing and building a completely new car, that makes optimal use of solar energy. A really great challenge. My job is to focus on aerodynamics and strategy. We are designing the outside of the car to create as little air resistance as possible, which means optimal aerodynamics. I also work on strategy, meaning that I’m working on a model that determines the optimal speed for the amount of sunshine on a given day. Last year’s model worked pretty well, but there is always room for improvement.”


Photo: Patrick Ooms

Theory in practice

“My degree programme has been extremely useful to me in this role on the solar team. I’m applying what I learned in practice. Everything I learned during my minor in Aircraft Engineering can be applied here in the design of the car’s aerodynamics.

As a member of the Solar Team, I am mainly learning how to put theoretical knowledge into practice.  I have realized that it is easy to dream up great theories, but they are sometimes extremely difficult or even impossible to implement in practice. There are time constraints, things have to keep moving along and you have to make practical choices sometimes.”


Photo: Patrick Ooms

Experience

“With all the experience I gained during my studies, I have learned a lot. As a first-year student I organized a trip across Europe for members of Astatine, the Advanced Technology study association. I also worked as a student assistant in first-year courses for two years, supervising students during practicals and project groups for example. I also enrolled in an excellence programme. This provided me with the opportunity to further challenge and develop my knowledge and skills with the help of scientists and coaches. During my third year I became chairman of the Astatine study association, a position that is usually full-time. As it turned out, no one was interested in filling that position on a full-time basis, so we then decided that the position would be part-time. During this committee year I acquired organizational skills, I learned to give presentations, to hold meetings, to work together with others, and many other useful things. Our hard work and enthusiasm has allowed us all to obtain all of our course credits during the part-time committee year. Our entire board even received the More Than A Degree Award for the best part-time board. I also came in second as the most active student in the second year and above category.”

Advanced Technology

“There are lots of things I find interesting, so I decided to enrol in the multidisciplinary Bachelor’s programme in Advanced Technology. You take both science and engineering courses; lots of science and chemistry, but mechanical engineering and electrical engineering courses too. Research courses, nanotechnology and even industrial engineering and management courses are also part of the programme. Third-year students can choose subjects in their area of preference, to prepare them for a Master’s programme in that field. When I finish my Bachelor’s programme, I plan to do a Master’s in Systems and Control, specializing in Robotics and Mechantronics. I absolutely love designing robots! Drones are interesting too, and the field is developing extremely rapidly. Because of my interest in robotics, I decided to do my Bachelor’s assignment at Robird – the famous robotic falcon designed several years ago that is now taking over the world. The robot bird mimics the flight of the peregrine falcon to scare birds away in a natural fashion.”

Future

“When I finish my studies, I would like to enter the world of business. I’m considering consultancy because I would like to be able to solve a wide variety of technological problems, which would make my job very interesting and diverse. I think I would also really enjoy starting my own business. The University of Twente offers support to would-be entrepreneurs in a number of ways. I’m not sure yet if I want to stay in the Netherlands, I might want to work abroad!”

University of Twente

“The great atmosphere at the University of Twente was the deciding factor in my decision to study there. I love it here so much, I even live on campus, and I get on really well with my flatmates. We have dinner together, do tons of fun stuff, and we even go on skiing trips together.”