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Hydrogen car team president balances school work with teamwork

Mizzou Hydrogen Car Club President Victoria Hezel said the team's newest car, Tigergen III, was made based off of its predecessor, Tigergen II.

There’s a fine line to walk when balancing school, a social life and student activities.  In her final semester, Victoria Hezel, an industrial and manufacturing systems (IMSE) major, makes walking that line look easy. A successful senior in the University of Missouri College of Engineering, Hezel looks forward to her year in the MU MBA program — as a part of a five-year dual degree program offered by IMSE — and her job at Boeing afterwards. And after four years working with the TigerGen hydrogen car team and serving as president this past year, both are eagerly anticipated.

“You need strong organizational skills, and good teamwork,” Hezel said of what it takes to make a successful competition team at the college level. “Those final weeks leading up to the day before you have to give it your all — everyone does.”

While Hezel has no problem giving it her all, her job as president also is about making sure everyone else does the same. Managing anywhere from 20 to 80 team members at a time, she values good communication as a major component of the team’s success.

“Email, Facebook, texting or calling, just getting everyone there — sometimes we have last minute work days so we have to talk to everyone to see who can get there to help,” she said.

And that communication certainly helps out with teamwork, which is one of the more valuable things Victoria learned from being on the team.

“In classes you get to pick your favorites and work with your friends. But on a team it’s not like that; you just work with whoever is there. I think that’s a lot more what work will be like.  And I feel very prepared having done this now,” said Hezel. The team also has helped broaden her horizons, beginning in her sophomore year.

“It helped get me out of my room and away from studying all of the time. And I now know a lot more people,” she said.

Interaction with engineers in a variety of disciplines has enriched Hezel’s overall experience here at MU working with biological to mechanical to chemical engineers. Even business and journalism majors find their way to the teams. This is the interdisciplinary experience come to life for many students. Hezel said it even helps her out with her class work.

Balancing the hydrogen car team with her IMSE coursework and other extracurricular activities, Hezel has certainly had her hands full. Excellent time management skills and a sincere investment in her work, have been helpful and Hezel feels its been worthwhile.

“Once you get to the race it’s all worth it. You see this from the designs on the computer to buying all of the materials and then onto the track. You helped build it with your own hands, from day one. Seeing the final product is definitely what makes it for me,” she said.

Hezel is a member of and has served as an officer for Alpha Pi Mu and Tau Beta Pi. She also has membership in the Institute of Industrial Engineers and the MU chapter of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars.