Think Fast!

Tell us about the most significant challenge you’ve faced or something important that didn’t go according to plan. How did you manage the situation? (200 to 250 words)

It was broken. Teams were gathering in the gym for the regional Science Olympiad competition and my electric vehicle sat useless on the cafeteria table. The motor simply would not spin, even though the lights said the circuit was on. The competition was 12 minutes away. I looked around at the teams surrounding me and saw coaches advising their students in huddle circles. Hardcore students with emotionless faces were polishing their cars for the start line. I knew that if I were to compete, I needed to fix my car quickly. I referenced my circuit board diagrams to check for loose connections and using a multi-meter to check for continuity. I checked to see if the batteries were fresh and that the motor wasn’t jammed. I sped up my work, replacing the motor belt and drive shaft. Still nothing had changed; the motor stayed stubbornly silent. 4 minutes left!

My nerves caused me to accidentally spin my hand up into the air, flipping the car onto its backside. Wincing with pain, I bent down to pick up the car and the root of the problem glared me in the face. One of the copper circuit board traces was missing; therefore, no current could get to the motor. I soldered a jumper onto the connection and lined up at the start line. Through...

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