Meet Nathan our Senior Technical Lead. Nathan Semianiw is an Electrical Systems Engineer and our driver of excellence in making the ASCEND Solar Car reach its full potential. His knowledge, experience, and ability to do just about anything on the car means he has contributed to all aspects of it and can fix nearly anything that “might” go wrong. Nathan’s passion for the project is unfaltering and we certainly hope his passion and driven work ethic have rubbed off on our keen engineering students.
What is your role on the project, your expertise & background?
Currently, I am the Senior Technical Officer of Mechatronics within Deakin’s School of Engineering and the technical lead of the ASCEND Solar Car Project. I have a degree in electrical and electronics engineering which I received from Deakin University and during that time I joined a research group within Deakin working on a range of industry projects from landfill gas monitoring to solar panel recycling all of which had a key focus on sustainability and energy which is the key reason I decided to be a part of the ASCEND team.
How have you supported the students?
I provided technical support to the students working on the project whether it was something as simple as providing advice on the design and manufacturing of a mounting bracket to as complex as diagnosing, repairing, and testing the high-voltage safety systems of the car, if it was technical related I was there working with the students supporting in any way a can to get the task done.
What have you enjoyed most so far?
Being a part of the team competing in the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge has been nothing short of amazing, the ASCEND team are hardworking, passionate, and determined group of Deakin engineering staff and students focused on building a practical solar car that one day could quite possibly be the future of the automotive industry. Working with the students has been the key highlight of my solar car experience and seeing how proud they are when they see the design they have been working on for months come to life is absolutely fantastic. This wouldn’t be possible without the support from our industry partner ACCIONA whose commitment to sustainability and energy is the key driver for the students in creating a sustainable and energy-efficient solar vehicle both of which are no easy feat.
What are you most looking forward to on the challenge?
Seeing the ASCEND Solar Car pull up to the start line is the moment I’m looking forward to seeing the most it’s the moment will be looking at the car and the team pinching myself because I can’t believe we actually made it. Everyone involved has put in a lot of blood, sweat, and tears coupled with a lot of late nights and weekends (with more to come I’m sure) working on the car to get it to where it is today and it’s something everyone involved should be proud of and to be a part of it is an absolute privilege.
Any concerns about something that might be a challenge for the team or you personally?
Making mistakes is a part of life and as an engineer, you’re going to make mistakes some will be minor, and some will be major but what’s going to define you as an engineer is how you own those mistakes and fix them. I think the challenge for most young engineers is instead of getting upset and leaving it for someone else to fix they need to learn to own the mistake and fix it which personally I think is the key difference between a good engineer and a great engineer.