Going under the hood

Jefferson’s new Automative Engineering Club allows students to focus on engineering in depth.


Junior Abeer Zaib talks about the opportunities that the club provides. Photo courtesy of Anushka Molugu.

Anushka Molugu, Staff Writer

One of the biggest things that makes our school special is the 8th period, a time for after-school clubs to shine. It allows us to go beyond our structured classes and focus on specific things we are interested. Some of our more well-known clubs are the language honor societies and competition clubs. It allows us to integrate our competitiveness, awareness for other cultures, and interest in STEM. One of the newest additions to these clubs is the Automotive Engineering Club which had their first meeting on Nov 16. Juniors Zach Lafeer and Abeer Zaib are two of the four members who run the club and they are also co-vice presidents.

“So I actually came up with this back like around this time sophomore year and it was kind of like just an idea, I didn’t think it was ever gonna happen.” Lafeer said.

As a STEM school, we put a heavy emphasis on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, but there aren’t many clubs that directly address the various fields in engineering.

“Prototyping, materials engineering, computer engineering, chemical engineering, quantum, optics, marine biology, biotechnology are just the few I can think off the top of my head right now. However, nothing ever addressed automotive engineering, which by the way is no small field.” Zaib said. “If there was no class, why not have a club?”

Treasurer of the club, junior Ayush Jonnala believes that the club is a great way to develop the interest of those who want to have some sort of career in the Engineering field. In fact, he is one of those people.

“I mean, that would be nice. I would find myself happy in a career path as such. I don’t know what I would do but it’s a passion that interests me.” Jonnala said.

The club focuses on the engineering aspect of cars and motorcycles and such. During the first meeting, the members introduced the club and began a lesson on the parts that make the car work. Their plan to increase participation is to build and refurbish smaller vehicles such as go karts and motorcycles.

“Some of the activities we are planning on doing is building our own carts, just to get it off the ground and get it moving, things like that.” Jonnala said. “Mostly, we will have a chassis but then we add everything else ourselves. We applied for a TJ partnership fund grant. So if we get that, we would use that money towards the club.”

As for the background and validity of the leadership in the club, Ayush and Zach have had the prior experience with working with karts that would make it easier for them for teach others and run the club smoothly.

“Particularly him [Ayush] and I have had the most experience of, at least, the officers right now.” Lafeer said. “We haven’t built a kart but we’ve done a decent amount of work on one.”

The main goal of the club is to give the members just another skill they can add to current knowledge. Their intention is to increase the interest of engineering in a school that already has a large awareness in STEM by focusing on a specific field.

“It’s our hope that they learn something new from every meeting. We hope they do learn something, maybe some information will stay with them longer than other does. But our main hope was to really create an interest in automotive engineering and find a way to nurture that interest.” Zaib said. “In the long term, maybe it will make our members more educated in the future when buying a car, driving, servicing their car, but we also are hopeful we can give a member a dream to have a career in this field.”