Team - who worked on the project/initaitve
We are a team of 21 Victorian students who have a diverse range of backgrounds.
We are a multicultural team of students who each bring something extraordinary to the project. Our nominated team member for the #TechDiversity award is Maria Pandelidi who is an inspiring and supportive member of VicHyper and has been invaluable and a huge part of our success within the SpaceX competition.
One-third of our team is originally from rural towns who have all recognised the need to move to the city for study purposes, enjoying all the amazing courses RMIT has to offer.
Half of our team have parents born in countries other than Australia which ensures we have a team that is constantly embracing our diversity and understand the need for women and minority groups to be more heavily involved in the STEM sector.
We are from:
Australia - Tiwi Islands
Overview - a summary to introduce the project or initiative
VicHyper is a team of 21 RMIT students all with a diverse range of backgrounds and study fields (engineering, communication, design and business) who have all come together to compete in the Space X Hyperloop pod design competition.
The Hyperloop is high-speed travel pod system that once implemented will revolutionise the transport industry and will become the fastest, safest, most affordable and sustainable mode transport ever invented.
From over 1,200 entries VicHyper made it to the final round of the competition and are the only team remaining from Australia, and indeed the Southern hemisphere.
Competing against some of the most highly regarded universities in the world VicHyper is eager to present our innovative and outstanding design in the U.S.A at the finals in October.
With the aim of pioneering a concept that will increase Australia’s leadership within STEM VicHyper has successfully recruited a team that is budding with diversity. We are fortunate to have a key leader in our team Maria who is our chosen nominee. Maria has a very diverse background growing up in Greece and immigrating to Australia to study with the hope of becoming and aerospace engineer. She has personally faced the gender imbalance within STEM and hopes to continue to be an aspiring role model for future women in tech, using the SpaceX competition as a platform to connect and engage with young women.
Actions / Initatives - Detail the actions implemented to achieve the project or initative
As a team we have been able to work cohesively to achieve international acclaimed awards for design through our team of rural, urban, international students we hope to revolutionise the transport industry, ensuring Australia is a leader in the implementation of the Hyperloop.
VicHyper have been seeking advice and sponsorship opportunities from the beginning of the competition to now making what was once a concept a reality. By building relationships with key stakeholders and networking with industry professionals, we have inadvertently received the most invaluable mentoring and guidance from within the industry.
VicHyper is now constantly looking for opportunities to give back and provide support and guidance for the next generation of tech professionals. VicHyper are working diligently to educate and engage with young Australians on the countless benefits that the Hyperloop presents, we have achieved this by attending a variety of seminars, workshops and interviews.
By participating in school career day presentations, the upcoming Go Girl event and an exciting Behind the News segment it has given us the ability to actively encourage and build interest with people from varied backgrounds and encourage females to look into this career path highlighting the endless opportunities involved.
Approach - Detail the approach that was taken on the project or initative
The original approach to the competition was to quickly build a team that could tackle any challenge. On return from America and needing to enlarge the team it was evident that diversity should play a key role in the expansion. The inclusion of Maria was a blessing for the team and she rapidly showed the original members and new members the necessity of females in any team.
With her inclusion not only did the design advance quicker but the her interpersonal skills allowed the team to earn vital sponsors such as DYNE Industries who is now building many components in kind.
The team used the added skill and new sponsors to finalise what they planned to build.
The next step is to complete the construction of the pod as soon as possible so the team can get testing.
Testing will allow the team to optimise their design, transport the prototype to the USA and hopefully win the competition.
Follow up / response - Details the follow up or response to the project or initative
The initial follow-up response came after competing in Texas at the Hyperloop design weekend where the team faced challenges due to the size of the team and lack of resources e.g. graphic design and marketing. VicHyper returned to Australia with the goal of expanding the team primarily wanting to include a more diverse range of students, ideally recruiting females to conquer the gender imbalance that is so often found in STEM, VicHyper was sucsessfull in doing so and is still actively looking to expand.
VicHyper aims to continue to grow as a team and educate people on the benefits of this system and how it will positively affect the future of Australians, by primarily linking rural and urban environments and creating boundless opportunities for years to come.
This is close to home for many students and over half of the team is made up of those who come from rural communities.
Action to overcome resistance - Details the actions taken to overcome resistance to the project or initiative
Being the underdog of the competition has given us the motivation to move forward diligently and make Australia proud in the final round to be held in October.
A key problem VicHyper has faced is gaining acceptance of the concept within the public sphere, we have been actively working to overcome this resistance by attending seminars and events to display the Hyperloop concept and build rapport within the tech community. By expanding our team, we are working hard to eliminate gender imbalance found in STEM. The difficulty we had when recruiting females has only highlighted the need for tech diversity even more and we are passionate about the need for women in tech and hope to inspire women to be the best that they can be.