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Competitive MTSU engineering, mechatronics students thank donor

Students in the MTSU Engineering Technology Experimental Vehicles Program took advantage of a day away from the classroom and laboratory earlier this semester to visit with Jeff Lane at the Lane Motor Museum in Nashville.

Lane has been exactly where the MTSU students find themselves: preparing for the Society of Automotive Engineers’ Mini Baja and SAE Formula competitions later this spring.

Robert Johnson, third from left, tells Lane Motor Museum owner Jeff Lane about the 2016 Society of Automotive Engineers' Mini Baja entry MTSU Experimental Vehicles Program students have been working on all year. (MTSU photo by Nicole Chitty)

Robert Johnson, third from left, tells Lane Motor Museum owner Jeff Lane about the 2016 Society of Automotive Engineers’ Mini Baja entry MTSU Experimental Vehicles Program students have been working on all year. (MTSU photo by Nicole Chitty)

The visit also was a way for MTSU students to say thank you to Lane, who is a financial supporter of the program and a huge fan of the students’ hard work and success.

“Going to the Lane Motor Museum for the Experimental Vehicles Program students is a chance for the students to show one of our important donors what we have been working on,” said Robert Johnson, a senior mechatronics engineering major and team member from Columbia, Tennessee.

“Though Mr. Lane is a Vanderbilt alumnus and former member of its SAE Baja team, he has made it clear he wants the engineering community outside of that to have the experience of working on an engineering design project with the degree of recognition the SAE competitions provide,” Johnson added.

Experimental Vehicles Program adviser Saeed Foroudastan led the group on the trip along with Nicole Chitty, development director for the College of Basic and Applied Sciences.

Lane and the museum have been a faithful donor to our program since 2004, Chitty said, adding that with his support, the Baja SAE and Formula SAE teams have been able to compete in their international competitions each year.

“Mr. Lane realizes from his own experience the importance of these hands-on activities for our students,” she added. “We are so grateful for his continued investment in our students.”

Chitty said student projects teach students organization, leadership and communication skills. They hauled current versions of the lunar rover and Mini Baja to the museum for Lane to view.

“Because of the competitive nature of each of the events MTSU engineering students participate in, they must use cutting-edge technology and design methods in order to field the very best entry possible,” Chitty said. “Often these projects serve as rolling test beds for the latest innovations in various technical fields and are accompanied by a great deal of research.”

The majority of Experimental Vehicles Program participants come from mechatronics engineering, engineering technology and aerospace.

For more on engineering technology, visit http://www.mtsu.edu/programs/engineering/. To learn about mechatronics engineering, one of the fastest-growing programs on campus, visit http://www.mtsu.edu/programs/mechatronics/.

— Randy Weiler (Randy.Weiler@mtsu.edu)

MTSU Experimental Vehicle Program team members visit Lane Motor Museum earlier this semester to thank owner Jeff Lane (center wearing yellow jacket) for his longtime support of the program.

MTSU Experimental Vehicle Program team members visit Lane Motor Museum earlier this semester to thank owner Jeff Lane (center wearing yellow jacket) for his longtime support of the program.

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