Written by: Ronald Maniece II, Virginia Tech
Virginia Tech and West Virginia University are gridiron rivals, the likes of which few school traditions can compare. Like the legendary Hatfields and McCoys, the Virginia Tech Hokies and West Virginia Mountaineers have a long and deep-seated rivalry. But, when the nation’s football spotlight focused on both schools for the FedEx Field game at Prince George’s County, Maryland, an opportunity to focus on a rare, common goal was realized by the EcoCAR 3 teams.
On Sunday, September 3rd, at Gate A of FedEx Field in Prince George’s County, Maryland, before the WVU vs. VT football game, the Hybrid Electric Vehicle Team at Virginia Tech (HEVT,) as well as the West Virginia EcoCAR 3 team both displayed their competition vehicles for the game-goers to see.
That day was a chance to promote EcoCAR 3, the hard work of all the students on each respective team, and two advanced Camaros to hundreds, if not thousands, of college students, alumni, and college football fans! This event was the culmination of hours of hard work for two AVTC Faculty Advisors, Dr. Drew Nix, the advisor for the West Virginia EcoCAR 3 team and Dr. Doug Nelson, of HEVT. Once a Hokie, always a Hokie. Despite being the advisor for the West Virginia EcoCAR 3 team, Dr. Nix, is a Virginia Tech alumnus. Dr. Nix reached out to VT to propose the idea of a joint event at the football game. In the common interest of AVTCs and preserving the beautiful environment that defines our borders, Dr. Nix and Dr. Nelson put the historic rivalry aside to come together for EcoCAR 3.
Virginia Tech take’s extreme pride in its engineering teams that compete in competitions around the nation. The College of Engineering provides great support for the team and is enthusiastic about all the work HEVT has completed. Virginia Tech’s team received a pleasant surprise when Julia Ross, the new Dean of Engineering of Virginia Tech, and Erin Edwards, the Director of Development of the College of Engineering of Virginia Tech, stopped by to see Virginia Tech’s hard work from over the years.
“Dean Ross has been with the college for a little over a month now. For her to be able to make the game was incredible. She is a very student-focused leader, and she made it a priority to make time for the team. She’s really interested in how teams and competitions help the students learn better,” said Erin Edwards, about Dean Ross’s appearance at the event.
Many fans identified as hybrid owners and were especially vocal about their appreciation for the evolution of hybrid electric technology. Much of the excitement around the car stemmed from the upgraded V-8 engine and large upgraded battery. Many were in awe of the idea that students had completed all of the technical work on the car.
“The way some of the younger girls looked at me as I spoke about what I did on the team was special,” said Anna Kulbaski, a senior team member studying electrical engineering. “This event could have motivated a kid to join STEM and discover the next world-changing innovation.”
Virginia Tech’s team was grateful for the opportunity to showcase their hard work on a state-of-the-art Camaro in front of the Hokie community. Hokie fans were vocal about their appreciation toward the car being at the game. The event was a huge success with hundreds of fans interacting with the car and team members.
“It was wonderful to see team colors spreading from the stands into the parking lot,” said Erin Edwards, Director of Development for the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech. “I love what football does for the university and how it’s a way for people, who don’t live close by, to connect with us. Extending that beyond football to get the opportunity to see that in a different way, engineering specifically was priceless.”
On this day, the school rivalry was moved from the turf to the blacktop. When the dust settled, both the Hokies and Mountaineers came out victorious by accomplishing their shared goal of engaging with the local community and respective audiences.
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