In October 2019, Momentum, an all-girls team, competed in the Victorian State Finals of the F1 in Schools competition in the Development Class. They placed second, and won the awards for ‘Best Portfolio’ and ‘Best Verbal Presentation’. This meant that Momentum earned a wildcard to the Australian Nationals Finals, held in March this year, where they won the award for ‘Outstanding Industry Collaboration’, and placed tenth overall.
The team undertook some reshuffling of positions before returning to the Victorian State Finals as a Professional Class team in the 2020 F1 in Schools competition. Recently, Momentum competed in the virtual Victorian F1 in Schools State Finals. Not to be stopped by lockdown, the team represented their school Albert Park College, and won third place overall. They also won the award for ‘Outstanding Industry Collaboration’, earning them a spot in the National Finals of the F1 in Schools competition.
Due to the pandemic, the competition in 2020 became virtual; the team showed resilience and had to organise themselves remotely. By using video conference software and delegating tasks to complete interdependently, Momentum continued their journey.
The first challenge, as always, was sponsorship. Due to the uncertainty of the situation, many potential partners decided to not provide sponsorship. Luckily, with the help of a handful of partners who were willing to give them support, Momentum had the assistance required. These sponsors include Garry Rogers Motorsport, Textron Systems Australia, Martin Foley MP – State Member for Albert Park, and Driven Women Magazine.
Ami, the Design Engineer, needed to create a new design for the car. Thanks to the use of Zoom and Google Meet, she could discuss her ideas with sponsors and the rest of the team. Ami wanted to use CFD software to ensure that her designs would be stable for racing, and fortunately this was still an option. Ami’s main challenge for designing the car was creating a design that would work during manufacturing.
As Team Manager, Agnes still had to keep everything in order despite the situation. Working closely with some teachers from school, she came up with a risk management plan to assist in every outcome. Agnes also managed the budget and the team’s workload, doing her best to balance and spread the various tasks to reduce as much stress as possible.
“It’s been a wonderful opportunity for me. It’s really opened my eyes to where STEM can take you, and I’m really excited to continue to this upcoming Nationals,” Agnes reflected on her time in the competition.
Miranda, as Marketing Manager, didn’t find that the situation changed her role very much. Due to the fact that most of her jobs were isolated to herself anyway, she found she could complete her work in lockdown with ease. The branding was developed, with input from other team members over email and video conference, and overall the lighter school load helped significantly.
Miranda also found that, “STEM is one of those things where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. This competition has given me many opportunities, and I’d like to encourage others to do this too.”
Their Manufacturing Engineer, Olivia, realised that most of her work would pile up towards the end of the competition, so she began planning ahead. After figuring out and acquiring the tools she would need, Olivia spoke to the sponsors who would manage the first stage of the manufacturing. Unfortunately, the situation meant that this plan would not work, so instead the cars were sent to Re-Engineering Australia, in Sydney, for this first part of the manufacturing. After the roughly-shaped cars had been returned, Olivia could assemble, sand, paint and finish the car, which were finally sent back to Sydney for the competition.
Two new members will join Momentum, with some of the current members deciding not to continue with the team to the upcoming finals, so some reshuffling had to be done. The changes for the National Finals will see Agnes remain as the Team Manager, whilst Miranda, previously the Marketing Manager, will seek to extend herself in the role of Design Engineer (previously Ami’s role). Angel will then replace Miranda as Marketing Manager, and Saige will be Momentum’s Manufacturing Engineer, replacing Olivia.
Saige, one of the new members of the team, shares a fresh perspective on STEM, saying “[it] is such a great opportunity to learn about so much more than just algebra or mixing chemicals. I feel so grateful to have this opportunity to be on such a great team. This competition has given me so much to look forward to and enjoy.”
With the fast approaching deadline, the team is working towards the Finals that will be held in mid-March 2021. Sponsorship and partnership is a major part of the team’s journey, and can make or break their success in the competition. If you are interested in supporting Momentum in any way, you can reach out to them via email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Driven Women Magazine will continue to follow Momentum’s progress and we wish the girl’s every success at the National Finals of the F1 in Schools competition!
Photographs by Momentum.