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I am Lu Yu Chiao Ishana, a final year Mechanical Engineering student from Taiwan. Ever since I was a child, I enjoyed sketching and once dreamed of being a cartoonist. When I faced the decision of what to study in college, I followed my passion for science subjects and chose engineering. Now, I am a passionate learner who continues to advance my knowledge in the field of automotive and aerospace engineering!
I chose HKU because HKU consolidates the best students and researchers from all around the world, which would foster an enriching learning environment in which I can explore. Besides, as the teaching language at HKU is English, I think it can better prepared me as an engineering professional for future challenges as we may need collaborate a lot with engineers across the globe.
Helios, the Award Winning Solar Car
One of my highlight in my study time here is I attended the “New Energy New Generation” solar car competition in my third year, and together with my teammates, we won the Overall Champion Award and Innovative Design award !
Our solar car was named after the ancient Sun God in Greek mythology, Helios. In my team, there’re 16 students from various engineering disciplines, including Mechanical Engineering, Electrical and Electronic Engineering, and Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering. The project runs for 6 months. We designed and then made the car from scratch. I was really excited that it won the award!
My main responsibility in the team is to design car chassis and car shell, and ensure it is manufactured as we expected. I really did learn a lot in the process. In order to make our design into a product, we have to communicate our design ideas to the manufacturer using engineering drawings with clear annotations. I was acquainted with various grades of metals to be applied to different parts of the car chassis and learnt how to select the most suitable sizes of bolts and nuts, bearings, and washers to ensure structural integrity and safety. We also built mechanisms that allow us to freely adjust the camber angles of the rear wheels into our car to reduce the rolling friction, which is one of the highlighted features and innovative element of our solar car. During the process, we received a lot of help from HKU professors and lecturers, as well as carmakers, technicians to perfect our design!
Besides the design part, I also exploited my language talents to construct formal technical reports to be submitted to the host organization, helped my team to set up a website that features our car in great details, and updated and managed our team’s Facebook page. And you know what, I proposed the name, ‘Helios’, and was finally chosen as our team name!
The impact of the solar car project is long-lasting. Besides the knowledge I have learnt during the project, I realized I do love cars and would like to work with it. As I'm going to graduate in June, 2017, I am planning to pursue a Master Program in Materials Engineering with specific focus on advanced high strength steel for automotive and aerospace applications, and this decision largely stems from the pleasurable experiences that I had with Helios Team.
Being a Female Engineer
There aren't that many girls like me pursuing Mechanical Engineering, and that's about ten of us only in my year of study. I am grateful for the continuous encouragement from my senior high school math teacher and English teacher back in Taiwan that eventually brought me to take on the challenging profession as Mechanical Engineering. Despite my senior high school studies were in the liberal division, my match teacher placed great emphasis on logical thinking and mathematical conceptions, unbounded by the conventional stereotype of ‘liberal’ and ‘scientific’ division of study, he encouraged me to head towards to wherever my passion lies. So far, I believe my decision is correct – as evident from my pleasurable participation in the solar car competition.
Regarding the issue of gender imbalance, I think that learning and working together with a group of male students is not only a precious opportunity to establish brotherhood with them, but also a remarkable progress for my self-exploration— to identify my own unique strengths to support the team. I think the world needs more female engineers – and I believe our caring mindset, intricate tastes for life and the products that we use, would add an unique, gentle, and feministic touch to the designs in this world should our observations be integrated into the products in our daily life, such as automobiles, buildings, and electronic devices.