WMU News

WMU's Sunseeker solar car set for unveiling; team announced

June 3, 1997

KALAMAZOO -- Members of Western Michigan University's Sunseeker 97 team will pull the wraps off their entry in Sunrayce 97 during a ceremony set for 3 p.m. Wednesday, June 11.

The solar-powered car will be unveiled near the new WMU Bronco sculpture located just east of Read Fieldhouse. In case of rain, the ceremony will be moved inside the University Arena.

Sunseeker 97 is one of 40 cars from colleges and universities around the nation that will compete in the 1,200-mile cross-country Sunrayce beginning June 19 in Indianapolis and concluding June 28 in Colorado Springs, Colo. The all-new vehicle designed and built by WMU students bears the traditional name for the University's entry. This is the fourth Sunrayce held since 1990 and the fourth time WMU has fielded an entry in the biennial event, which is sponsored by the General Motors Corp., EDS and the U.S. Department of Energy.

Taking part in the ceremony will be Dr. Timothy Light, WMU provost and vice president for academic affairs; Dr. Leonard R. Lamberson, dean of the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences; Jan Selesky, administrative assistant in the Department of Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering; and Steve C. Hunt, a graduate student from Kalamazoo who is the Sunseeker project manager and team leader.

In addition to unveiling the new vehicle, the ceremony will be used to name the car's drivers and introduce other members of the Sunseeker 97 traveling team. The 20-member student team will be leaving June 13 to prepare for the race that begins at the Indianapolis Speedway.

Although not yet introduced to the Kalamazoo area community, the WMU solar vehicle made its first official appearance last month during Sunrayce qualifying events at GM's Proving Grounds in Milford, Mich. After successfully completing the qualifying rounds in Milford, Sunseeker will be starting in 12th place in the field of 40. To date, only 24 cars have met qualification requirements. The only other Michigan entry is one from the University of Michigan, which will start the race in 15th place.

An additional 16 cars can still qualify at a "Last Chance" event in Indianapolis during the week leading up to the race. Nearly 60 institutions registered for the race this year, each hoping to earn a berth during May or June qualifying events.

Other schools that successfully qualified for Sunrayce 97 in May include the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which won Sunrayce 95, George Washington University, Stanford University, Yale University and California State University at Los Angeles.

WMU vehicles in earlier Sunrayces have captured two top 10 finishes, including an eighth place in the 1995 race across a route nearly identical to the one being used in 1997.

Among the towns along the race route is Smith Center, Kan., which is the Sunrayce "Adopt-a-Town" partner to the WMU team. Team members have made two visits to the town already, giving local schoolchildren lessons on solar power and making presentations to local community groups. During the race, members of the community will act as hosts to Sunseeker team members as they make a June 25 overnight stop in the town.

Those viewing Sunrayce 97 will get a double-dose of WMU's engineering expertise. Sunseeker 95 has been tapped by sponsors to be part of the race advance team. The advance team, which will include WMU students, will travel the race route just prior to the arrival of the competition vehicles. Sunseeker 95 also will be equipped with a camera in its cockpit to give local and national media a look at the race route from a solar car driver's perspective.

Those interested in following the progress of Sunseeker 97 can do so on the World Wide Web at: <http//www.wmich.edu/sunseeker>.

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Here is a list of students who are members of the Sunseeker 97 traveling team, hometown information about each and their title or specialty area with the team.


Bark River--Jeffrey B. Scheuren, 6246 F Lane, is the son of Duane L. and Patricia M. Scheuren. A junior majoring in mechanical engineering, Scheuren works on Sunseeker parts fabrication, brakes and steering.

Berkley--Brian Hendricks, 3014 Coolidge Highway, is the son of Garry Hendricks of Berkley and Marilyn Hendricks of 2211 Mura Drive, Augusta, Ga. A graduate student in computer science, Hendricks works on Sunseeker's solar array as a member of the power team.

Canton--Demian Flores, 47127 Bartlett, is the son of Frank and Mary Ann Flores. A junior majoring in mechanical engineering, Flores' responsibilities include working on body design and serving as the team's "Webmaster" for its World Wide Web home page.

Columbiaville--Kevin W. Schmaeman, 1368 Hillside Drive, is the son of Ronald W. Schmaeman of 8660 Voigt Ave., Grosse Ile, and Vera R. Grayhek of Columbiaville. A senior majoring in mechanical engineering, Schmaeman is part of the chassis team.

Eastpointe-- Anthony G. Hamel, 24577 Wilmot, is the son of Gregory and Marie Hamel. A senior majoring in electrical engineering, Hamel is a member of the power team.

Holland--Brian K. Boardman, 263 Littlestation Road, is the son of Robert K. Boardman and Lorraine Boardman. A sophomore majoring in aviation flight science, Boardman is a member of the Sunseeker power and strategy teams.

Jonesville--Lonnie L. Beckwith, 12397 Pulaski Road, is the son of Logan Beckwith and Jo Ann Heath. A senior majoring in manufacturing engineering, Beckwith is a member of the chassis team.

Kalamazoo--Steve C. Hunt, 3409 Meadowcroft, is the son of Barbara A. Hunt and the late Jack D. Hunt. A graduate student in computer science, Hunt is the Sunseeker project manager and team leader.

Frederick E. James, 2722 S. Park, is the son of Donald E. and Jerre H. James. A graduate student in mechanical engineering, James is the power systems team leader for Sunseeker.

Matthew T. Powell, 8018 N. 14th St., is the son of Gregory and Janalee Powell. A junior majoring in mechanical engineering, Powell is part of the chassis team.

Kentwood--Roosevelt Hampton III, 4930 Aleda S.E., is the son of Roosevelt Hampton Jr. and Ernestine Hampton. A sophomore majoring in physics, he is a member of the power team.

Marc A. Jansen, 4435 Brookhaven Place, is the son of Ronald L. and Renee I. Jansen of 3966 Yorkland Drive N.W. #7, Comstock Park. A senior majoring in electrical engineering, Jansen is the strategy team leader.

Marshall--Scott D. Howe, 828 Forest St., is the son of Raymond Johns of Battle Creek and Yvonne Howe of Marshall. A senior majoring in automotive engineering technology, Howe is the chassis systems team leader.

Midland--Edward D. Groninger, 2720 Colony Drive, is the son of Greg D. and Carol J. Groninger. A senior majoring in mechanical engineering, he is a member of the chassis team.

Novi-- Laura M. Jones, 24712 Highland, is the daughter of Thomas L. and Ann M. Jones. A senior majoring in elementary education, Jones is the team's educational outreach coordinator, putting together educational materials on solar power for schools and coordinating the team's relationship with its adopted town on the race route.

Zeeland--Marc A. Miller, 6430 Byron Road, is the son of Thomas L. and Marcia A. Miller. A junior majoring in public relations, Miller is the team leader for media relations.



Kansas City, Mo.--Daniel L. Selvidge, 6245 N. Lendon Avenue, Apt. G, is the son of Kenneth D. and Dixie M. Selvidge. A senior majoring in mechanical engineering, Selvidge is a member of the chassis team.

Hackensack, N.J.--Melvin O. Douglas, 208 Anderson St., # 4B S., is the son of Melvin Douglas of Hackensack and Jackie Douglas of 12785 E. Pacific Drive #302, Aurora, Colo. A sophomore majoring in mechanical engineering, Douglas is the team leader for Sunseeker's aerodynamics and body teams.


Malaysia--Kuan Kuei Chiou of Selangor Doral Ehsan is the son of Chen Seong Chiou and Kwok Heong Teoh. A senior majoring in electrical engineering, he is a member of the power team.

United Arab Emirates--Bedros Hanounik of Sharjah is the son of Malek and Serpohi Hanounik. A senior majoring in computer science engineering, Hanounik is a member of the electrical and strategy teams.

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