Joining the team in the fall of 2003, Jonathan Brown went to one of the mass meetings during his first semester at the University of Michigan.
“Someone in my dorm had heard about the mass meeting, and I basically decided to tag along to be social. At the time, I think I was more interested in joining IEEE, but their mass meeting was boring…so I never went again. In the end, my hallmate dropped the team, but I never looked back.”
When Jonathan first joined as part of the power-electrical division of the team, there were separate battery, array, and wire harness meetings – and he went to all of them. Later in the summer of 2004, he was appointed the Array leader where that evolved into the Battery Leader and eventually the Power-Electrical Leader for WSC (where he was the only power-electrical on racecrew).
Currently, Jonathan is a Ph.D student in wireless integrated circuit design at the University of Michigan and there is no doubt that being on the team has helped him get to where he is today.
“Having been a part of the team has given me a ton of practical experience. From networking at conferences or debugging a printed circuit board, having practical experience makes all of that easier. Even if I never use Unigraphics again nor do another layup, I can’t imagine that knowledge can hurt me in the future. To a certain extent, it doesn’t even matter if Solar Car helps me with my career because it was great fun. I can’t even imagine my college experience without it.”
Something that Jonathan misses is the time he spent working with a lot of other highly motivated people. One of his favorite memories was being able to see his car roll for the first time.
“It wasn’t much of a car initially- just some old batteries, a body, and some suspension. But, it was still pretty exciting to see something you’ve helped build actually drive around.”
Another favorite memory of Jonathan’s was the finish of NASC. The team was only about ten minutes ahead of the University of Minnesota going into the last day of racing, which made it all the more exciting for him to see the car make it across the finish line.
Overall, Jonathan has seen a impressive progression through the various cars built after Momentum and is excited to see how the current team performs during WSC. However, he like many other Alumni can relate through saying:
“Being on the team was stressful sometimes, but the University of Michigan Solar Car Team has achieved some remarkable things in our history.”