Formula SAE is a student design competition organized by SAE International (previously called the Society of Automotive Engineers). Wisconsin Racing is comprised of students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who are tasked with designing and building a prototype race car. Their motto, “One Team — Two Cars” reflects the creation of both a combustion vehicle and an electric car.

While the team may be called Wisconsin Racing, not only is it packed with students hailing from Rochester and the surrounding area, the team has received local support, too. Leading the electric car team are seniors Kevin Byrne, technical director (John Marshall High School graduate), and Michael Siem, team principal (Mayo High School graduate).

Additional local team members include: freshman Damask Grinnell, the operations lead, (Mayo graduate), Evan Wildenberg, the firmware lead, a sophomore from Cannon Falls, and Quinn Sabin, the electrical hardware Lead, a sophomore, also from Cannon Falls. Both financial support and engineering expertise were provided by Domaille Engineering of Rochester.

The team unveiled its electric car on April 27 after months of hard work and a significant obstacle. In addition to the time commitment of being full-time engineering students, the team of nearly 30 people sometimes put in 30 to 40 hours of work apiece each week on the car. “Every year brings fun challenges,” Byrne said.

However, this year, due to a fire in the engineering building, the team was literally locked out of its workspace for six weeks. This setback truly “tested our time management,” Byrne said.

The rewards of leadership on the Wisconsin Racing team have been plentiful for Byrne. He has gained management skills and learned how to “keep morale high without micromanaging.” Byrne will add to his experience this summer when he interns at SpaceX, a space technology company in California. After earning a degree in mechanical engineering, he hopes to work in the electric car or space industry.

Last month five students from Folwell Elementary School in Rochester competed as a junior team in First Lego League at the state expo at the Works Museum in Bloomington. Team Hurricane, comprised of Apollo Homb (grade 3), Athena Homb (grade 1), Joseph Teng (kindergarten), Michael Teng (grade 3), and Daniel Zhang (grade 3), is coached by parent Amy Teng.

The team began its work in November 2018 and spent 12 weekends completing the Mission Moon Challenge. As part of its exploration, Team Hurricane pondered questions about life on the moon. Members were then tasked with building a moon base using Legos and the LEGO Education WeDo 2.0 to program a motorized component for the base.

The youngsters earned the Solid-as-a-Rock Model Design Award at the competition in Minneapolis. The last weekend in April, they presented their work to families visiting Minnesota Children’s Museum Rochester, sharing their process and experience. Amy Teng said, “The kids really enjoyed talking to the community.”

Local country singer Debbie Anthony has recently released her latest single, “Make Me Stay.” Anthony has been recording in Nashville and her upcoming second album, “More to Be Said,” is slated for a summer release.

“I’m excited to share my heart in this piercing, emotionally-packed song about love and the elements that come with it — pain, passion, longing, and above all, hope,” Anthony said.

In addition to performing at local dining establishments around town, music fans can see Anthony on July 28 when she opens for Lindsay Ell at Down by the Riverside.

Colleen Timimi is a Rochester freelance writer. Seen & Heard highlights local people with interesting stories. Send tips to life@postbulletin.com.




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