The female formula

Three female students, one in the low-built formula racing car, all with ponytails, confer

Photo: Richard G. Anderson

When electrical engineering major Rose Slater attended the College of Science and Engineering Welcome Week Student Organization Fair as a freshman, she didn’t know anything about cars. But she decided to take a risk and try something new.

Today, Slater is the  project manager of Gopher Motorsports, more formally known as the University of Minnesota’s Formula Society of Automotive Engineers (FSAE) team.

Completely student-run, the group designs, markets, and races a high-speed formula car, seeing the engineering project through from start to finish every year. The team recently placed fourth out of nearly 80 teams at the FSAE competition in Lincoln, Nebraska, and is currently ranked #2 in the country.

Slater is one of three women holding managerial positions in Gopher Motorsports. Industrial and systems engineering senior Diana Sorenson and mechanical engineering senior Kristen Spurlock serve as chief operating officer and president, respectively. They work alongside two other active female team members and 30 male members.

What makes it all worthwhile? The team atmosphere.

“Women tend to think differently than men, so there is immense benefit to [having] both perspectives in the industry,” Sorenson says. “While more women are joining the professional realm, it is important for all of us to continue to be advocates for those to come.”

Gopher Motorsports unveils their new car at 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 12, in Room B50, Tate Hall. The team's first competition of the 2019 season will be the Formula SAE Michigan, which pits collegiate teams from around the world against each other May 8-11.
University of Minnesota, Twin Cities