Momentum - April 2020 - 10


A JUNIOR IN HER FOURTH YEAR at Northeastern University majoring
in mechanical engineering, Emily Kerr is co-captain of the school's
Baja SAE team for the 2019-2020 season. She also is serving as build
manager and brakes system lead while handing some of the team's
welding duties this year after having served in many capacities for the
team over the past three years.
MOMENTUM caught up to her via email in January for a Q/A about her
experience last season.
In which Baja SAE competitions will the team participate this year?
We are confirmed for the Illinois competition, but we're still on the
waitlist for Louisville.
The team finished 19th and 38th overall last year at the two Baja SAE
competitions in which it competed. How satisfied was the team with
its performance?
The team was not entirely satisfied with our 2019 performance. We
ended the season with a strong feeling of "we can do better," but
we faced a lot of issues throughout our build season and should still
be proud of having made it to competition and doing as well as we
did despite those difficulties. It was a year that taught us a lot about
management and how to handle setbacks that you don't necessarily
have control over. This experience has significantly influenced how we
approached structuring and managing the team for the 2020 season.
"Design" was by far the event that the team was most successful
in last year. What specific part or system of the car did the Design
Event judges find most worthy in terms of the team's engineering
In terms of the raw scoring in the Design event, the judges scored us
very highly for drivetrain and brakes systems at both the California and

The Northeastern University Baja SAE car speeds down a straight during the
Endurance Event at Baja SAE California 2019.

10 April 2020

2004_SG_4-13.indd 10

Emily Kerr, co-captain of the Northeastern University Baja SAE
team, presents during the Design Event at Baja SAE Rochester 2019.
Out of nearly 100 teams that registered for the competition, the
team finished 38th Overall and tied for 13th in Design.
Rochester competitions. We've done a lot of testing and
validation in recent years for both of those systems, and
that's what the judges were most interested in.
Regarding drivetrain, we built a new custom
dynamometer in 2019 with the hopes of enabling more
accurate CVT testing. We iterated upon the custom CVT
design we introduced in 2018 but focused the majority
of our efforts on gaining a better understanding of the
intricacies of its function and learning how to achieve a
proper tune.
The other system that scored highly was brakes. This
is again a system that has been heavily validated; we've
gathered a significant amount of data to identify worstcase scenarios, mathematically modeled the system in
a number of different ways, tested many different rotor
materials, etc. On the whole, it's a system that we're
quite confident in our understanding of, and we were
able to effectively communicate our design process to
the judges.
 Aside from the individual subsystems, we believe
one of our greatest strengths in the Design Event for


3/19/20 11:25 AM


Momentum - April 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Momentum - April 2020

Momentum - April 2020
Start a new SAE Chapter in your life
Focused on design
Taking the classroom to the racetrack
Great moments happen due to the work of many
ONE-ON-ONE – Emily Kerr
Sticking to the schedule
GM deploying electricals of the future in new architecture
Myers Awards winners named
SAE 101: Industry Leadership Award
Dossier: Justin Lange of John Deere
Focusing on the ‘E’ in STEM
Momentum - April 2020 - Momentum - April 2020
Momentum - April 2020 - Cover2
Momentum - April 2020 - 1
Momentum - April 2020 - Start a new SAE Chapter in your life
Momentum - April 2020 - BENEFITS U
Momentum - April 2020 - Focused on design
Momentum - April 2020 - 5
Momentum - April 2020 - 6
Momentum - April 2020 - Taking the classroom to the racetrack
Momentum - April 2020 - 8
Momentum - April 2020 - Great moments happen due to the work of many
Momentum - April 2020 - ONE-ON-ONE – Emily Kerr
Momentum - April 2020 - 11
Momentum - April 2020 - Sticking to the schedule
Momentum - April 2020 - 13
Momentum - April 2020 - BRIEFS
Momentum - April 2020 - GM deploying electricals of the future in new architecture
Momentum - April 2020 - Myers Awards winners named
Momentum - April 2020 - SAE 101: Industry Leadership Award
Momentum - April 2020 - Dossier: Justin Lange of John Deere
Momentum - April 2020 - 19
Momentum - April 2020 - Focusing on the ‘E’ in STEM
Momentum - April 2020 - Cover3
Momentum - April 2020 - Cover4