The University of Toronto Hyperloop Team (UTHT) is one of the most diverse student clubs on campus and includes students from across engineering as well as those who are studying business or architecture. The UTHT Executive Committee includes MIE students Phil Cuvin (MechE, Structures Co-Lead,), Mohammad Diab (MechE, Fusion 360 Integrations Lead), Cecilia Rozario (IndE, Business Development Director) and Melissa Ma (MechE, Braking Lead) who took some time to share what makes UTHT so unique and what the club is hoping to achieve over the course of the next year.
What drew you to UTHT and made you want to join?
Mohammad: Initially it was a combination of the hype of first year engineering and looking at design teams and the work they do at the career fair. Ultimately though, it was a friend of mine at UTHT who motivated me to join, he would always talk about the cool stuff they were working on and that inspired me to get involved.
Melissa: I saw the recruitment posting for UTHT the summer before first year. As someone who likes doing hands-on things, I knew that I wanted to join a design team to provide me with the opportunities to learn practical skills and work on cool projects outside of class.
What initially drew me to Hyperloop was the idea of engineering an innovative and sustainable train-like pod that could propel passengers from Toronto to Montreal through vacuum tubes in under an hour! This cutting-edge concept really spiked my interest and I applied to the team right away.
Phil: For me, it was that UTHT is doing something very different than traditional design teams that are focused on a single vehicle or particular product. UTHT isn’t just a design team – we’re designing both the pod and the system for it to work on as well as developing a business plan and working towards making hyperloop technology a reality.
What is UTHT looking forward to achieving this year now that we’re back on campus?
Phil: The team has a number of goals for the year. First, we want to finish up Pod 1, this is the first pod created at U of T. Next, we’ll start working on the design and manufacturing of Pod 2, which will be powered by magnetic levitation. Ours will be the first design team at U of T to explore this cutting-edge technology.
We’re also planning on working with other design teams and professional groups to recruit to members and get the wider community excited about hyperloop technology. Keep a look out for workshop and other events hosted by UTHT!
UTHT features students from many different disciplines. What kind of roles are available on the team and how is the team structured?
Phil: One of the highlights of UTHT is working with students from other disciplines. Our team draws on every skillset in engineering and beyond to achieve our goals. With such a diverse group we have worked hard to develop a positive team culture and make use of everyone’s skills. We also have a number of sub-teams within UTHT that allow for students to focus on their strengths and interests while moving towards our shared goals.
Melissa: UTHT really does have a role for everyone! When I joined, I was nervous about my lack of engineering knowledge and experience as a first-year student. However, the braking sub-team had great upper-year leaders that taught me skills such as Computer-Aided Design, component selection, and manufacturing— all of which I never would have imagined learning so early on. UTHT is a great place to grow along with students from all disciplines and backgrounds.
Do you have any tips for students who are concerned about balancing clubs activities with their studies?
Mohammad: The most important thing to keep in mind when considering joining design teams is that everyone in that team is a student just like you, they have their own lectures to attend, assignments to do, and midterms to study for. We won’t put too much on your plate! If you can’t make it to a meeting, for example, just let it us know. We understand because we’re all in the same boat.
As for tips to help balance clubs and studies, I would say join clubs with your friends instead of joining alone, and if you can’t get a friend to join a team you like that’s okay! Because you can always make more friends in those design teams. Get out of your comfort zone and we’ll be there to support you!
Phil: I think it’s helpful to think about how your involvement in clubs directly benefits your learning as an engineer in class. Don’t think of time spent on clubs as taking away from your studies, instead realize that you are gaining hands-on experience solving real engineering challenges. You get to put what you learned in class to use in clubs and in my experience, it helps to reinforce the engineering concepts you’re studying.
UTHT is also a very supportive and flexible team. We can adjust your role or involvement to meet your individual skill level and goals, we want to encourage lower-year students to get involved and bring their fresh perspective, so you don’t have to wait until you think you have enough experience to join, there is a way for everyone to get involved.
-Published October 12, 2021 by Lynsey Mellon, email@example.com