Interview with Team Blaze
According to the Unesco Science Report of 2021, women make up only 30% of the global engineering community. Team Blaze and F1 in Schools (F1iS) is trying to change that.
“Our goal was really to be the first all-girl team to win an international award with F1iS, and we accomplished that,” said Tamara S., a participant in the 2021 F1iS World Finals. With participants’ ages ranging from 9 to 19, F1iS’ main objective is to help change perceptions of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) by creating a fun and exciting learning environment for young people to develop an informed view about careers in engineering, mathematics, science, Formula One, marketing and technology. To do this, F1iS challenged young teams to utilize specialized software and robust project plans to bring its model-sized Formula 1® Car of the Future to life. The teams needed to secure sponsorships, build their test cars, iterate on their design, and produce the fastest compressed air-cylinder-powered car in order to win the title of F1iS champion at the World Finals race.
Every year, F1iS hosts the World Finals race in association with Formula 1 Grand Prix. This year, the race was remote due to the pandemic, forcing students to pivot quickly and rethink how they would design, manufacture and showcase their Formula 1 model racing cars.
Team Blaze from India, an all-girls team ranging from 12 to 17 years old, didn’t skip a beat — winning this year’s competition for their best project plan of its model race car, sponsorship plan and marketing efforts. During an interview with PMIEF after winning the F1iS Best Application of Project Management Award, members from Team Blaze shared their experience from the F1iS World Finals, how project management has influenced their daily lives, and how they feel learning project management has influenced their future.
PMIEF: Tell us a little about your experience with F1iS.
Amaira D.: Our experience with F1iS was probably the best journey of our lives. We’ve learned a lot, as you can tell. When we began, we didn’t even know the meaning of project management.
PMIEF: Tell us about your project and the goals.
Tamara C.: Our main goal for the World Finals was to be the first all-girls team from India to win an award at an international level. Our project was full of highs and lows throughout the process. We learned a lot and worked well together. In the end, we were able to achieve our goal and win the Project Management Award from PMIEF.
PMIEF: Did you know a lot about project management before competing with F1iS? How did F1iS project guidelines make a difference?
Jasmeh D.: Before we started the competition, I would say we didn’t know that much about project management. We surely were using project management skills in our daily life, but we didn’t know what it was. I personally didn’t see project management as a career option, but I do now through the competition (since we learned so much about project management). Overall, F1iS has made a positive impact, especially throughout our journey, because the amount of learning we received—even regarding the basics—all helped us achieve our result.
PMIEF: How did you pivot in 2020/2021 using project management skills?
Amaira D.: Our project management skills helped us, especially because they are important life skills. For example, we learned time management, organization, team management and how to work with a group. It’s really easy to work on your own, but with a group you really have to adjust to others’ schedules and learn how to work together.
PMIEF: How do you feel project management plays a role in your life now, if at all?
SeeWon Y.: I think project management surely plays a role in our daily lives since we have learned so many effective skills like communication, leadership, planning and especially organizational skills. And since competing in F1iS as a team, we have realized our project management skills have gotten better. We worked more effectively throughout the initiation and planning stages. We also see it as a career path, so it’s really helped us individually and as a team.
Jasmeh D.: I didn’t know about project management or that a project manager was a job when we started our project with F1iS. But since we started the whole journey as a team, I’ve learned so much about how we can manage a project. For example, when we compared our Nationals round (with the F1iS competition) to how we managed the World Finals project—there was a huge difference. Because our project management was better, the quality of our work was improved and enhanced, which is how we scored more points. I believe project management definitely helped throughout the journey, and some of us see it as a career option.