A female mechanical engineering student at the University of Waterloo is doing what only one woman has done before her.  Cassandra Cole is the school’s second female team lead for its demanding Formula Motorsports program.

The program, held in conjunction with regular classes, is an interuniversity competition where students design, build and race high performance vehicles.

Cole says her job as team lead is especially gratifying because there are very few women in Waterloo’s mechanical engineering program.  “I guess it’s a great accomplishment in a way but I’m just doing what I love and I just happen to be one of the few women doing it.”

The top rank is bitter sweet for Cole.  Last year’s University of Waterloo team didn’t compete after a bikini-clad photo surfaced of Cole in front of its race car.  Cole, and her twenty other teammates, were barred from competition.  University officials said the photo, taken inside a school building, was taken without permission.

The incident and photo made headlines across North America.

Cole says she’s put last year behind her and wants to move and pursue her dream of working in professional racing.

“You just suck it up and you go for it.  That’s what I’ve been doing all my life and still what I’m doing and if I want to pursue racing that’s how I have to be.”

This is the 25th year for the school’s Formula Motorsports program.

The school’s best finish was in its inaugural year of competition in 1987 when it finished fourth.