Team Trailer Babes’ DAP presentation went well. It was much better than we expected it to be. We were a little nervous, because the three of us had only run through our presentation a couple of times, and all of us were afraid that the judges would ask questions that we didn’t know the answers to. However, the three of us worked really well as a team and brought a lot of enthusiasm to the presentation. The pressure of doing our final presentation actually gave us an edge, and everything pulled together really well.
While our presentation had a couple of hiccups and “ums”, most of which were just due to nerves and minimal run-throughs, I feel like we covered everything we wanted to, divided our time up evenly between group members, presented for the right amount of time while still leaving room for questions, and spoke with enthusiasm. We all maintained good volume and eye contact and walked around the room, drawing in the audience. I feel like we also explained everything thoroughly.
Our judges were a diverse group of men and women of different ages and from different backgrounds. One woman with a background in architecture explained that presentations like ours were common when showing a concept to clients at architecture firms. The judges complimented us on our presentation skills and said that our design stood out because we really identified with the client’s personality and the objective of contributing to the trailer’s original retro theme. One man in particular kept asking us difficult questions, like whether we’d considered weight balance between the water tank and batteries. A woman asked if our polyeutherane coated water tank was safe for water storage. A lot of our questions had to do with storage during transportation. While some of the questions were about ideas we hadn’t considered before, we were mostly able to come up with answers on the spot or put a positive spin on things.
Knowing what I know now, I would have set up more practices with my group and maybe put more effort into thinking of potential judge questions and concerns beforehand. We did a great job at making our trailer unique and contributing to the retro theme. Each team member brought passion to the presentation and really connected to the audience, explaining how each component of our design contributed to the overall trailer, the theme of the project, and what we had learned about sustainability. Overall, some important skills we gained from doing our DAP presentations include public speaking, teamwork, planning and dividing up work long-term, and organization. I learned how to use Google Sketch-up, how to create a diagram, and how the water system of a home or trailer works. There was no part of the DAP presentation that I hope to “forget as soon as possible,” except perhaps when we had to spend a solid hour redoing our title board because we glued some of the letters over too far, so that when we slid the title board slots over the tri-fold board, part of the title was covered up. We ran around trying to find more paper. It was frustrating!
Most importantly, our group learned valuable lessons that we hope to remember about interior systems and sustainability. Particularly as women, it’s important for us engineering students to learn about the interior systems of homes and vehicles. This project helped us to understand some of the concepts of civil engineering, such as insulation, AC vs. DC power, and water systems, on a small and understandable 12-foot scale. Another purpose of this project was to have an independent introduction to real-world engineering. We learned how to work within time and budget constraints, prepare a team presentation for a client, and use originality to solve problems.
Perhaps most importantly, this project introduced us to concepts related to sustainable design. We learned about green alternatives to products commonly used in homes and vehicles and where to acquire them. Mariah from COMET Camper said it best when she described projects like ours and the Camper as “absurd example[s] of how far sustainability can go in housing.” More than just an engineering project or a design for a community trailer, our take on Project VENTURA is a model of ways to introduce sustainable living to homes and trailers. Hopefully others who view our project will be influenced to use similar ideas in their own homes, trailers, RVs, or cars. The most important thing that we, as future engineers and caretakers of a damaged planet, learned from doing this project is that sustainable options really are simpler, healthier, and less expensive to use in the long-term, once you get down to it. It’s just a matter of being educated about the options that are available. Hopefully this project is our small way of showing people that.