Built for speed

Most high school guidance counselors encourage prospective college students to apply to as many as eight schools — from dream destinations to likely matches to safe selections where the odds of acceptance are sky-high.

20160825_jarrett_harkless_0014At Timberland High School in the St. Louis suburb of Wentzville, Jarrett Harkless had little interest in that well-worn formula. A classroom poster of an open-wheel, student-designed and -built race car instead guided the sophomore mechanical and aerospace engineering major toward a different formula — the Formula SAE racing team at Missouri S&T, the lone university Harkless considered attending.

“That’s the biggest reason I’m here,” says Harkless, who in his third year on campus leads one of S&T’s oldest student design teams. “That poster is why I’m at the university. There was no other option. I was going to S&T, and that was it.”

Harkless caught the racing bug after taking a series of high school engineering classes through Project Lead The Way, a nonprofit organization that works to boost K-12 education in computer science, engineering and biomedical science. Missouri S&T is the state affiliate for the national program, with hundreds of educators from across Missouri and the country coming to Rolla each summer for teacher training.

The Formula SAE team’s recent performance has been impressive.

In May, the squad finished seventh at a Michigan International Speedway event. Then came a first-place win in June at the Formula North competition in Toronto — a victory Harkless calls the first by a U.S. school at that event. That was soon followed by a fourth-place finish at a Lincoln, Neb., race that Harkless compares to the sport’s national championship. In the coming season, the team is ranked ninth in the world — out of 531 teams.

“We’re very proud of where we are as a team, going toe to toe with these giants and still doing really well,” he says.

The Formula SAE team is one of 18 student design teams at Missouri S&T. The student-led teams not only design and build race cars, rockets, robots, concrete canoes, solar homes and more, but also develop business and marketing plans while working with advisors both in industry and on campus.

Around the Puck

Q&A: Miners got game

What was the most memorable sports team during your time on campus? As part of his research for the S&T 150th history book, Larry Gragg, Curators’ Distinguished Teaching Professor emeritus of history and political science, asked you to share your memories. Here are a few of your answers.

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Honoring new academy members

In October, 12 alumni and friends were inducted into Missouri S&T academies. Academy membership recognizes careers of distinction and invites members to share their wisdom, influence and resources with faculty and students. Some academies hold induction ceremonies in the fall, others in the spring.

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Boosting cyber-physical security

A wide array of complex systems that rely on computers — from public water supply systems and electric grids to chemical plants and self-driving vehicles — increasingly come under not just digital but physical attacks. Bruce McMillin, professor and interim chair of computer science at Missouri S&T, is looking to change that by developing stronger safeguards […]

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MXene discovery could improve energy storage

In spite of their diminutive size, 2-D titanium carbide materials known as MXenes are “quite reactive” to water, a discovery S&T researchers say could have implications for energy storage and harvesting applications such as batteries, supercapacitors and beyond. Their findings were published in 2018 in the American Chemical Society journal Inorganic Chemistry.

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A faster charge for electric vehicles

One drawback of electric vehicles (EVs) is the time it takes to charge them. But what if you could plug in your EV and fully charge it as quickly as it takes to fill up a conventional car with gasoline? Missouri S&T researchers, in collaboration with three private companies, are working to make speedy charging […]

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