Students on Fast Track to Engineering Success
T hey met in sixth grade as part of their middle school’s science, technology, engineering, and
math (STEM) program. Now, the four
teenage girls from Marietta, Georgia, USA, are working on a different
engineering project: They compete in
F1 in Schools, an international club
where students design, build, and race
working miniature Formula 1 cars.
Anna Awald, Kelly Fitzgerald, Claire
McCoy, and Sabine Saldanha are high
school freshmen who make up Team
Shift ( f1-shift.com). Their hobby has
taken them as far as Malaysia, where in
2011 they collaborated with a German
team and finished 18th in the world
championship event. In November
they were in Abu Dhabi, United Arab
Emirates, where they placed eighth
overall, with the fourth fastest car in
the 2012 world competition.
F1 in Schools (www.f1inschools.
com) is open to students ages 9–19
and draws teams from 31 countries.
The competition is based on points
received in nine events—and not all of
them involve racing or even engineering. Teams are judged on their portfolio, pit display, oral presentation,
sponsorship and marketing, time trials, reaction racing, knockout racing,
engineering, and specifications.
Team Shift is rare in that it is an all-female team involved in a sport—and
science—still dominated by males.
“We were the only all-girl team at
the U.S. Nationals and one of two at
the World Finals,” Fitzgerald said.
Their success has brought them
nine sponsors, including three—
Women in Technology, Porsche,
and Czarnowski—that donated
more than $10,000 each in cash
or in-kind contributions to fuel the