Student Experience

For our automotive technology students who love cars, trucks, and other motorized vehicles, we have three primary registered student groups.

1. Automotive Ambassadors

A volunteer organization that believes in supporting the automotive community, building civic responsibility, and giving back to our industry and program. Since every aspect of the global automotive industry is dependent upon our customers and supporting partners, industry seeks to hire those who understand and support this through demonstrated volunteerism.

Being an ambassador opens the doors to many opportunities to build leadership skills and communication skills. Ambassadors highlight industry connections, collaborate in research, and show how SIU automotive students succeed. Ambassadors represent professionalism and make a positive impact to others.
The Automotive Ambassadors work with the SIU Automotive Faculty to support prospective student tours, events, and info sessions.

As Ambassadors, we:
• Represent the program to industry, outside organizations, and the community
• Display professionalism and strong work ethic
• Make a positive impact to help others
• Conduct prospective student tours
• Network with industry leaders
• Prepare to become the industry leaders of tomorrow
Download the Automotive Ambassador Brochure to learn more.

2. Automotive Technology Organization (ATO)

The Automotive Technology Organization (ATO) at Southern Illinois University (SIU) is a student-led Registered Student Organization (RSO). ATO aims to create a sense of community for students interested in automotive technology and promote leadership, networking, and teamwork skills.

ATO Purpose Statement:
“To create a sense of community not only within the Automotive program but also with anyone interested in Automotive Technology. To promote leadership skills and networking. To promote working as a team both within the club as well as in the local community. To give students the ability to plan, organize, and coordinate events throughout the school year. To promote and grow interview skills and improve upon workplace-related skills in planning, facilitating, organizing, and technology.”

The Automotive Technology Organization (ATO) not only caters to a diverse range of automotive enthusiasts, but it also enhances what students are learning in their classes. By working on ATO teams such as the Restoration Team, Off-Road Club, S-10, Del Sol and Nova Team, students can put their knowledge and skills learned in class into practice. ATO gives students the opportunity to apply their technical skills and learn more about the motorsports industry, engines and maintenance, and high-performance modifications.

Restoration Team

This group focuses their work on bringing vehicles to running condition

• 1952 Chevy 3800 Grain Truck
• 1958 AMC Rambler
• 1972 MGB inline

Off Road Club

The off-road club’s main project vehicle is a 1995 Jeep Cherokee, but they often have fun trips introducing new experiences to members, including camping and off-roading personal rigs. In addition to building their trail rig, the also help others as well by teaching drivers how to safely navigate a trail.

S10 Drag Truck

The S-10 team is working on a frame-off conversion that will include the following:

  • Drag truck for everyone (experienced and/or inexperienced)
  • LS3 with a 4L80 and a Ford 9” rear axle
  • Learn the basics of an LS swap
  • Learn and use tuning programs such as HP Tuners
  • Learn metal and chassis fabrication

Del Sol

The Auto Cross team modifies and races a 1994 Honda Del Sol that was graciously donated by an alumnus.

  • Skunk 2 Coil overs
  • Wavetrac LSD
  • B16 VTEC engine
  • Manual transmission
  • Parts donated by industry alumni
  • Fixed and raced by students

Nova Team

Established in 1985, the Nova team is the first automotive club at SIU. This team races and modifies a 1966 Chevy Nova SS at local 1/8th mile tracks.

  • Meant for anyone to come out and learn about drag racing!
  • Dart 400 Small Block, 625 HP
  • Full Roll Cage
  • Turbo 400 Transmission
  • 4-Link Suspension & 14” Slicks
  • 6.325s, 113 mph, 1/8 Mile

Apply Your Technical Skills!

  • Building, service, and repair of race vehicles
  • We learn about the motorsports industry, chassis and vehicle dynamics, and high-performance modifications.
  • With each team specializing in certain maintenance and repair aspects, an individual can move to teams according to what experiences they wish to have.

Character/Career Building Activities!

  • Industry Connections
  • Polar Plunge

3. Woman in Automotive Transportation Technology (WATT)

WATT – Woman A group of women and men dedicated to inspiring, encouraging, and building awareness about the opportunities for women in the automotive industry. We realize that in order for our industry to grow, we must work together to educate, welcome, and promote a comprehensive profession.

The Women in the Automotive Industry organization seeks to:

  • help create industry and opportunity awareness
  • grow our industry professional connections
  • expand our leadership and communication skills
  • engage with our community
  • promote our profession and industry have fun!