My name is Kathleen Hirthler, but most people call me Katie. I grew up in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, about 45 minutes north of Philadelphia. Growing up, I always loved math and physics, and enjoyed being challenged to solve difficult problems, so no one was surprised when I decided to major in mechanical engineering.
At Villanova, my biggest and most time-consuming involvement on campus is with the Formula Society of Automotive Engineers team, or FSAE. With this team, I design, build, test, and then race a new Formula 1 style racecar every year. To the left is the racecar we built.
As you might be able to imagine, this is not an easy task. The team starts design in June, using knowledge gathered internally from the team in years past, as well as research in textbooks and from other teams. Each member has a different task, and it is important to make sure that each design will interface well with the other systems. To do this, we conduct at least one meeting a week over skype all throughout the summer months.
Our design is finalized in the fall, and we can start manufacturing the car. We do most of the machining in the university machine shop, but a lot of parts and services are donated by sponsors. Once the car in done being manufactured, we start the testing phase, where we evaluate our car and decide what can be improved upon in the future. We also use this time to make small changes to improve the performance of our car. To the left is a picture of me (right) and a teammate taking measurements and gathering data to decide how we should set up the car for competition.
Each May, at the Michigan International Speedway, we compete against 120 teams from all over the world. Competition is a great way to meet other teams, and learn from the different ways that every different team approaches the same problem. This past May, our team finished 26th, the second highest finish in Nova’s history. Our team is very excited about how we performed, but we believe we can do even better this year!
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A Tribute to Bob Capone
January 2, 2015
The Blue White Scholarship Foundation Named "2017 Top-Rated Nonprofit" by GreatNonprofits