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Igniting Passion for STEM: UWAFT Hosts SNP Steam Academy for an Immersive Experience

Written by: Alex Zervos

This fall marked an exciting collaboration between the University of Waterloo Alternative Fuels Team (UWAFT) and the SNP Steam Academy, a high school under the Six Nations Polytechnic School. The purpose of the visit extended beyond a simple tour, aiming to forge a lasting relationship with the Six Nations Community and, most importantly, to kindle a passion for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) among the visiting students.

The day kicked off with a comprehensive tour of the UWAFT facility, providing the students with a firsthand look at cutting-edge technology and innovation. The highlight of the tour was the unveiling of the all-new Cadillac LYRIQ, where students were introduced to various car components, including the half-shaft, thermal system, onboard control unit, and electric motor.

The UWAFT student design team took center stage, passionately explaining the advantages of Battery-powered Electric Vehicles (BEVs). Special emphasis was given to the team’s focus on Connected and Automated Vehicle (CAVs) systems, showcasing the exciting intersection of technology and automotive engineering.

Beyond the technicalities of electric vehicles, the visit opened avenues for the students to explore careers in engineering and other STEM-related fields. The UWAFT team shared their plans for integrating different powertrains designed by students, sparking curiosity and enthusiasm among the young minds.

A pivotal moment during the visit was the lively Question and Answer session, originally planned for 15 minutes but extending to nearly an hour. The students delved into diverse topics, from the university experience in STEM to the legal implications of automated vehicles. Technical inquiries ranged from the intricacies of EV features to the practicalities of charging stations, battery life, and human-factors design.

The immersive experience left the students captivated by the world of STEM, turning what was supposed to be a brief session into a resounding success. As UWAFT continues to nurture these connections, the hope is to inspire a future generation of innovators and problem-solvers within the Six Nations Community. This collaborative effort stands as a testament to the power of hands-on experiences in shaping the minds of aspiring STEM enthusiasts.