A group of students sitting around a table and listening to a Panel

UC Davis EcoCAR Hosts Student Panel for GETA (Green Energy Technology Academy)

On November 15, 2023, the UC Davis EcoCAR team eagerly welcomed students from Laguna Creek High School’s Green Energy Technology Academy (GETA), from Elk Grove, a diverse suburb of Sacramento.

GETA is a high school program focused on the topic of renewable energy and its technologies. Students learn through hands-on, collaborative projects with the goal of developing skills transferable outside of the classroom. Their curriculum prepares their students for college, technical schools, or going straight into the workforce, with career options ranging from Computer-aided design (CAD) Technician to Mechanical Engineer.

Their field trip to UC Davis elicited excitement for the team, eager to share updates on their hard work as well as get to know potential future engineers. Five members of the team were a part of the field trip: Davy Belshaw, SDI Mechanical Sub-Lead, Luis Molina, SDI Testing and Integrations Lead, James Giller, CAVS Lead, Amir Mazraawi, Safety Lead, Dahlia Garas, one of the team’s faculty advisors, as well as an Advanced Vehicle Technology Competition (AVTC) program alumnus, Rob Kamisky.

The GETA students had a jam-packed day, starting with an insightful presentation and discussion on Electric Vehicles and receiving tours of multiple parts of campus, including: the Western Cooling Efficiency Center, Design Makerspace at Cruess Hall, EcoCAR Lab, and Engineering Student Design Center.

To help the students learn more about potential educational and career opportunities, they participated in a panel where they could ask questions and converse with current undergraduate /graduate engineering students and alumni. Belshaw, Molina, and Giller were three of the panelists.

“It was nice to see people interested in what we’re doing! It helped remind me that the work we’re doing is actually really cool- and it was fun to talk about our college experiences and how different they all were!” said Belshaw when asked about the day of the field trip.

Molina agreed with this sentiment saying, “...my experiences with the Institute of Transportation Studies (ITS), the Engineering Student Design Center (ESDC), and the UC Davis EcoCAR Garage…has had a role in shaping the student and professional I am today. Overall, I aimed to express the importance of participating in rewarding, on-campus opportunities, which can offer a glimpse into their future careers/endeavors.”

They were also able to see the team’s 2023 Cadillac LYRIQ, donated by General Motors. The students were thrilled to see the car, eager to ask questions and inspect its different parts themselves. Like the GETA philosophy, the EcoCAR Electric Vehicle (EV) Challenge encourages students to address existing problems and create positive changes in a hands-on, collaborative way. 

“...I really [liked] learning about the different electric vehicles there are in the world and the acronyms and what they stand for. I also liked learning about the different strategies that you guys are trying to apply in your EcoCar such as there being low carbon fuels, vehicle efficiency, and land use, and transportation…” said one of the GETA students when reflecting on the day. 

The UC Davis EcoCAR team is extremely grateful for having been able to share their story with the GETA students. The team cannot wait to see their hard work come into fruition as the year goes by, making positive changes to not just the physical car itself, but also around the transportation conversations in our broader community.

As said by Riddhi Puranik, the team’s Communications Lead, “Our team had an excellent time hosting the 2023 Laguna Creek High School field trip! We are looking forward to conducting many more successful outreach events with our community members.”