Nothing makes La Cañada High School senior Hima Hassenruck-Gudipati quite as happy as a 120-pound robot or riding inside a 16-foot solar-powered boat.
Hassenruck-Gudipati is president of the La Cañada High School Engineering Club who used her skills and enthusiasm for engineering this past weekend at the Solar Cup, a seven-month engineering program for more than 800 high school students in Southern California.
La Cañada’s 23-member team designed, built and raced solar-powered boats while learning resource conservation on Lake Skinner in Temecula Valley.
The competition began in December. All the competing high schools built a wooden vault that resembles a canoe. From there, teams designed a motor, propeller, drive train and solar panels, which took about three months of construction. Teams were judged by how well their boat worked; the water conservation public service announcement that they created; and how well the boat performed in a 90-minute endurance race.