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FS Volunteer Interview: Beth Harrod

Formula Student Team

Beth Harrod
Beth Harrod

Our next volunteer interview with Beth Harrod details how she enjoys giving back to the next generation of students as a design judge and why you should volunteer at the competition.

Want to join this year's Formula Student competition as a volunteer? Read the full descriptions of all the available opportunities here and submit your application before the end of February 2022 to get involved!

What's your history in relation to Formula Student, what area of the competition are you involved in and how long have you been involved?

Beth Harrod (BH): I was a former competitor at FS through out my time at the University of Sunderland from 2014 to 2019 and only really missed a few months of the competition when I was out on placement! Back then I worked mainly on aerodynamics and then I was also deputy team lead and then team lead in my final year. This year, 2021, was my first year as a design judge.

What is your motivation for your involvement in FS?

BH: FS was such a big part of my own university experience so I wanted to be involved in giving something back and helping other students to learn. It’s such a great event and I thought what better way to stay involved than as a volunteer.

What's the best thing about being involved with FS?

BH: I think it’s the satisfaction of knowing that you’re helping others in their university and FS journey, whether that be passing on some of your own knowledge or just giving a bit of encouragement when needed. You can tell how hard the teams work, particularly with the ongoing Covid situation and I really enjoyed speaking with the students and seeing their ideas. I also really enjoyed the range of people I got to work with this year from all kinds of backgrounds and industries.

What advice would you give to someone considering being involved in your area?

BH: Be prepared! I found that I made my own experience a lot easier by reading through documents/reports early on and doing it bit by bit. It helps as well to make notes beforehand to save time on the day. Other than that, if you’re doubting whether to do it or not just go for it! I almost didn’t apply because I didn’t know if I’d “fit in” being so early on in my career as I only graduated myself 2 years ago but I think I was able to provide a different view on things.

Do you have a funny / poignant / interesting story or anecdote about an FS experience that you'd like to share?

BH: It’s not about me personally but about another team. When I was a competitor and at the closing ceremony, I remember an all girls team from Pakistan won the spirit of FS award,I believe they were the first ever all female team. I felt so proud of them, I still get goosebumps a little bit now just thinking about it. We need more great female role models like that in engineering.

What does the future of FS look like and how do you hope to be a part of it?

BH: I think the future looks really positive, the competition seems to grow year on year and there’s always some great ideas and some wonderful stories or hard work and dedication. I can also see the FS AI class really starting to pick up as well so that’ll be interesting. I’d love to continue my role as a volunteer, I found this year really rewarding and I’d definitely miss FS if I wasn’t involved somehow!

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