Mentor Volunteer Guidelines

The Formula Hybrid Competition is the most challenging and complex of all the SAE CDS competitions, and the electrical drive systems in these vehicles present unique hazards. One consequence of this is that a significant number of teams never pass our technical safety inspection. Over the last six years, an average of only 62% of the teams that arrived in New Hampshire made it through the safety inspection. To help address this problem, Formula Hybrid has initiated the Team Mentor Program.

A team mentor is an expert in the field of automotive engineering who is willing to spend about a half-hour a week to positively influence the next generation of engineers. Mentors are assigned to one or two teams to coach during the months leading up to the competition, monitoring progress and assisting teams with technical advice. The ideal person for this position would be a Formula Hybrid alumnus and a working engineer at an auto company. However, any technical experts willing to mentor a team are more than welcome.

Duties of mentors typically begin in the fall and continue through to the spring competition. The exact start date depends upon when a team’s application is received. Mentors check in with teams regularly, either via phone, email, or video conferencing. One or two site visits would be ideal. Communication methods are dependent upon the agreement of mentors and teams.

A team mentor may not pass judgment on the legality of any aspect of the vehicle, but can offer advice and should encourage teams to submit questions to the Formula Hybrid support page for an official response. Mentors must also comply with Formula Hybrid rule (PDF) A6.3.3 regarding level of involvement in the design and/or construction of the vehicle.

A mentor’s purpose is to help the team arrive at the event with a completed, road-worthy vehicle that is ready to pass technical inspection. Considering the time and energy that students put into vehicle projects, it is a large disappointment when teams are unable to compete. Team mentors provide an added opportunity for students to ask questions and receive technical advice and encouragement.

Mentors have the opportunity to form working relationships with teams, and thus provide a talent acquisition advantage to sponsors, who devote valuable resources to Formula Hybrid with this significant goal in mind. Due to the recruiting benefit, platinum sponsors of Formula Hybrid will be given priority status for mentor positions. By providing a team mentor, sponsors will gain access to a student’s character, body of knowledge, teamwork skills, and their ability to solve real-world problems.

Team mentors significantly impact the lives of engineering students by sharing their knowledge and expertise. This volunteer position provides an invaluable service to Formula Hybrid and its members.