12 Jul 2021
Carrying the Sun to the Future
As part of Istanbul Technical University Alumni Talks, we spoke with our graduates who took part in the ITU Solar Car Team in different periods about their achievements and memories.
News: İTÜ Media and Communication Office
Solar Car Team (SCT) founding captain Arda Tüysüz (Electrical Engineering, 2006) and former SCT members Emre Toparlar (Control Engineering, 2007) and Hande Kılıç Aydınlı (Metallurgical and Materials Engineering & Chemistry Engineering, 2010), who became the guests of the talk titled “Carrying the Sun to the Future” moderated by ITU SCT Captain and Electrical Engineering student Çetin Dalkılıç, elaborated on many topics from the idea of making an electric-powered race car that is charged with solar energy and the establishment phase of the team to the awards they received and the impact of the experience they gained during their teamwork on building their career, and talked about their student memories with longing and smiles.
“As the first team captain and the last team captain, we share the same enthusiasm and energy”
Arda Tüysüz, the founding captain of the team, talked about the difficulties they experienced during and after the establishment of SCT as follows: “As a student of Electrical Engineering I wanted to create something tangible. In our chats with Ali Yıldırım and Kaan Titiz, with whom I formed the team, I saw that we had the common idea about having something to demonstrate. While still pondering whether we can do this, we made our application. Of course starting from scratch had its advantages as well as its difficulties. Because there was no pressure on us; we set out with the courage of ignorance, we learned by trial and error. We formed the project team and members of each period added something and handed over the flag to newcomers. In other words, this is actually a relay race… The car you will build today will be much better than the car we built years ago. And this is how it should be, this is normal. The important thing is to share the same enthusiasm and energy as people who work for the same goal.”
“SCT project helped us discover ourselves”
Former SCT member Emre Toparlar expressed that the work of the team had positive results in a very short time: “TÜBİTAK Formula G, brought solar cars to the forefront. Although we didn’t have any achievements during the first year with our team formed in 2004, we participated in competitions with two cars in the second year and returned from competitions with a total of 23 awards, both national and international, and several degrees.”
Stating that their achievements had a great influence on their current career paths, Emre Toparlar proceeded as follows: “We embarked on our careers with the experience and confidence of having participated in such a project. Personally, it first of all helped me discover myself; I decided to continue my career as a product manager even though I had received an excellent engineering education. Of course, this happened as a result of the experience I gained during the project.”
Good time management is the key to success
Hande Kılıç Aydınlı, who took part in seeking sponsors for the project and coating the solar panels, talked about the importance of time management while carrying out many tasks simultaneously and gave the following advice to students: “By planning your schedule correctly and programming what you need, you can overcome whatever issue is most important to you. But you’d better not overlook this: No matter how planned you are, sometimes you have to do many things and be in many places at the same time; then asking for help and sharing some tasks are essential to progressing without deviating from your dreams and goals.”
Arda Tüysüz, the founding captain of the team, expressed that with the project they carried out, they experienced the excitement of participating in a foreign fair for the first time and emphasized the importance of the experience he gained at ITU as follows: “Of course teamwork is not taught directly at any university, but taking part in such projects prepares you for the business life ahead of you. You see the difference that makes very clearly. We as engineers have always experienced the privilege of being ITU graduates in business life and continue to do so.”