Solar Car Project Brings Students Together

Story By Richard Hernandez | Co Editor In Chief
Photo by Tracy Nyugen |

Going in to summer vacation, Dr. Joe Dungan and a group of 12 students, former students, and even a pair of UTSA students, were all hard at work building a solar car. They didn’t let summer slow them down. The group worked hard into the summer and accomplished their goal of finishing the solar car.

“Seeing it running, seeing it finished and just knowing that we built it was just the best feeling,” Cole Fertitta said.

The building of the solar car didn’t come without it’s problems though. Before they even got the chance to start the group was encountered by a early problem, lack of funds.

“I went out and tried to get scholarship money for the project, but that was the hardest part,” Dungan said. “They wanted us to get it started to show that we could do it in order to receive the money, but finally we got money from UTSA, then came Toyota and that gave us enough.”

Then came issues with the actual building of the solar car, but the group pulled it out and came out with a feeling of accomplishment.

“The motor mount took us about of two months to make, but when we finally got it done it was the best,” senior Kenneth Iannello said.

The project not only allowed students to learn and gain a hands on experience in the engineering field, but it also gave them the chance to meet people they might not have met otherwise.

“There’s a group of kids that work in AP who don’t [normally] work with their hands. Then there are those who are the opposite who work in welding and wood shop classes, so we have a group of students that might have not worked together before,” Dungan said.

While the students might not have been familiar with each other, they came together and became a team while working on the solar car.

“One of the things I noticed is that they built off their strengths and weaknesses and became stronger as a whole,” Dungan said.

The students working on the solar car project realized that team work was a huge key to finishing the project.

“It was tough, but it was a team thing,” Iannello added. “We separated into groups to make it and now each and everyone of us knows how to make a solar car.”

With the solar car now finished, Dungan and company are ready to show it off . The group will be at UTSA on Aug. 23 to show off their solar car, and are ready to get involved in more events.

“We are looking to get involved in the Battle of Flowers parade and solar energy shows so we can show our car, with the opportunity to raise some scholarships,” Dungan added.

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