I am the Business Lead of the Cornell Mars Rover engineering project team at Cornell University. Our team designs an innovative Mars rover that can perform a variety of field tasks to assist in a simulated manned-mission to Mars.
I joined CMR as a member of the Controls Software sub-team in my first-year at Cornell. Since then, I have pivoted my role to focus on the growth of the team and bring it to the competitive caliber of other established engineering project teams.
As the Business Lead, I administer a budget of over $35,000, corporate relations, marketing, and information technology for our team of over forty members. While I used to develop robotics software before, I now develop web applications for optimizing team operations, communications, and finances.
I was interviewed by Michael Raspuzzi of Life Changing Labs about my experience on Cornell Mars Rover. Below is an excerpt from the story they featured on me.
"I’m involved with the Cornell Mars Rover project team. Soon after joining, I had an important decision to make: Do I continue performing under my defined role and develop robotics software, or do I risk my position and address other aspects of the team that could use improvement? As an aspiring entrepreneur, it’s exhilarating to identify key areas for innovation, growth, and disruption. When I realized I could not maximize my impact on the team under the existing structure, I worked to design a new role. Now, I lead the CMR business sub-team. Within a year, we have established a compelling team brand, doubled our recruitment, acquired new sponsors, and we’re just getting started!
I learned that structure is necessary. It makes me aware of what I can do. Then, I push it to do more."
When I joined Cornell Mars Rover it was only about three years old. As a young team, CMR had great innovative potential, but it did not yet have the name recognition on campus to fully capitalize on this. My vision was to lead the team with a focus on growth on this in order to make our team more attractive to prospective students and corporate sponsors.
I lead a series of initiaves, including rebranding the team to accurately reflect its innovative culture and building out a web presence that captivated students accross different disciplines throughout the university as well as corporate sponsors. The following year, our team doubled in recruitment applications to one-hundred and sixty applications, beating out several well established project teams for top engineering talent.
The apparel designs I've made for Cornell Mars Rover ring true to the branding mission of growing the team and its credibility. The design embraces the "young" and "trendy" culture of the team. They foster team spirit, feel casual, and yet inspire awe.
As with most design projects, I had to work under some reasonable constraints. In order to maintain a resonable budget and feasibility for screen printing, I limited the number of colors in the designs. Then, in typical democratic fashion, the team voted for their favorites. Because the 2014 design was heavy on graphics, I emphasized typography and geometric design in 2015.
Promoting Team Values
It is my belief that marketing strategies should be consistent with the values of an organization. However, marketing is not always about design and advertising and social media. Marketing comes in many forms. Community outreach is among my favorite activities because by engaging with your surrounding community, you build your brand up in a positive manner.
I have had the chance to present at the USA Science and Engineering Festival as an exhibitor on behalf of the National Academies of Sciences for my invovlement on Cornell Mars Rover. Read more about why this speaking event was a moving moment for me as an engineering student.
See more of my work and learn about our team on the Cornell Mars Rover website!Go To Cornell Mars Rover