MATTHEW GOODE (BS ‘17 materials science and engineering) proves that childhood dreams can come true, no matter the size of your hometown. Living most of his life in the tiny town of Coggon in eastern Iowa, Goode and more than 100 members of Iowa State’s solar car team have developed the world’s first solar utility vehicle.
It began with a visit to Iowa State as a middle schooler, when he saw the solar-powered car being built by students on the university’s team PrISUm. Always interested in automobiles, Goode decided he would take that concept to new levels. He enrolled in Iowa State and began working with PrISUm from day 1. Four years later in October 2017, a working model named Penumbra competed in the cruiser class of the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge to race across the Australian Outback.
Before his May 2017 graduation, Goode led a 99-county Iowa tour visiting many small communities to show off Penumbra and talk to people along the way.
“I encourage everyone to follow their passions,” he said. “Often students in these small towns are told they can never achieve their goals. This car is proof that it does not matter where you are from, you can do the impossible.”
Penumbra marks a big milestone for PrISUm, he added. “It has allowed us to grow into one of the most diverse student groups on campus. The knowledge gained on this team has prepared me for my future career and I cannot wait to see where it goes!”
Goode credits team members for helping him reach his goals. “Many members became my best friends who truly pushed me to new highs,” he said. “Their support and commitment have allowed me to find my true passions in life. I can never thank these members enough for their hard work and for putting up with me.”
He is the youngest son from a family of five. His father, Steve Goode, helped design the original cell phone at Motorola and now works full-time at Rockwell Collins in Cedar Rapids. His mother, Lynn Jarosz Goode, had worked in the defense industry before the family’s move to Iowa. Matthew’s older brother, David, studied aerospace engineering at Iowa State and now works at Emmerson Processing Fisher Controls, and his older sister, Sarah, studied English at the University of Iowa.
Goode is a graduate of North-Linn High School. As an Iowa State student, internships and a co-op assignment took him to Waukesha, Wisconsin and Los Angeles. He plans to use his solar car team experience and intern/co-op work to start his own company. As of March 2020, Goode is a Product Development Engineer at Donaldson.
Dean of the College of Engineering, Sarah Rajala: Matthew is an outstanding example of a student who succeeded on all levels and will become a great engineering and community leader in the next chapter of his life.