WMU students to compete in cross-country solar car race

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Sunseeker racing team

WMU's 2012 Sunseeker solar racing team

KALAMAZOO--Twelve Western Michigan University students will compete in a cross-country solar competition that will track a course through the heart of Kalamazoo.

The 2012 American Solar Challenge, a biennial collegiate race, begins Saturday, July 14, in Rochester, N.Y., and ends eight days later in St. Paul, Minn. Solar race teams from around the world will cover the more than 1,600-mile course and make mandatory overnight and checkpoint stops all along the route. Kalamazoo and WMU's College of Engineering and Applied Sciences will serve as a mid-day checkpoint Tuesday, July 17.

This year's American Solar Challenge will feature 18 teams from top engineering schools in the United States and Canada. The ASC is a competition to design, build, and drive solar-powered cars in a cross-country time/distance rally event. WMU, which has been participating in such solar events since 1989, this year is one of three Michigan schools competing. The other two teams are from the University of Michigan and Michigan State University.

2012 WMU Sunseeker Team

  • Joshua Allen, an aeronautical engineering major from Saginaw, Mich., does mechanical and body work for the Sunseeker. He is a graduate of Reese High School.
  • Andrew Day, a mechanical engineering major from Sugar Land, Texas, is a mechanical and telemetry lead for the WMU team. He is a graduate of Stephen F. Austin High School.
  • Megan Derwich, an industrial and manufacturing engineering major from Livonia, Mich., does safety and body work for the team. She is a graduate of Stevenson High School.
  • Richmond Flint, an aeronautical engineering major from Detroit, does mechanical and telemetry work for the team. He is a graduate of the University of Detroit Jesuit High School.
  • Bryan Harris, a mechanical engineering major from Walled Lake, Mich., does mechanical and body work for the team. He is a graduate of Walled Lake Western High School.
  • Kenwood Hoben, a physics and electrical engineering major from Clarkston, Mich., does electrical work for the team. He is a graduate of Clarkston High School.
  • Byron Izenbaard, an electrical engineering major from Vicksburg, Mich., is an electrical and battery lead for the team. He is a graduate of Kalamazoo Christian High School.
  • Johnathan Karakula, a mechanical engineering major from Portage, Mich., does mechanical work for the team. He is a graduate of Portage Northern High School.
  • Vince Kucway, an aeronautical engineering major from Macomb, Mich., does mechanical work and is a driver for the Sunseeker. He is a graduate of Dwight P. Eisenhower High School.
  • Mitchell Panek, an industrial and entrepreneurial engineering major from Grand Rapids, Mich., is the team's lead driver. He is a graduate of West Catholic High School.
  • Charlie Schlansker, a mechanical engineering major from Saline, Mich., does mechanical and body work for the Sunseeker team. He is a graduate of Saline High School.
  • Ryan Schwartz, an electrical engineering major from Colon, Mich., works on the electrical system and is a driver for the team. He is a graduate of Colon Junior/Senior High School.

Team advisors

  • Dr. Brad Bazuin
  • Abraham Poot
  • Dr. Jorge Rodriguez
  • Fred Sitkins

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