Four undergraduate students from across the country were awarded a total of $20,000 in scholarships and treated to a VIP experience at today’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at the AAA Texas 500. The contest challenged students to identify a technology or innovation within NASCAR, then explain how STEM professionals came to its design in 90-second videos. Video submissions were judged on technical accuracy, creativity and production quality.
Joy Kaseke, a senior geographic information systems student at Brigham Young University, earned a scholarship for explaining the significance of the pit road officiating system. “As an IT professional, I enjoyed learning about the software and technology NASCAR uses to automat things in the sport to decrease human errors, and improve safety for officials and racing teams,” said Kaseke 22 of Provo, Utah. Through this initiative, NASCAR and Chevrolet continue their longstanding commitment to Science, Technology, Engineering & Math (STEM) education and promoting opportunities for college students pursuing technology related careers.
“There’s never been a more exciting time to be in the STEM field,” said Ken Barrett, chief diversity officer for General Motors. “At GM, we know diversity is our strength, and having diverse talent in the STEM pipeline keeps both the automotive and racing industries on the cutting edge of innovation.” Before taking in the AAA Texas 500, the students had the chance to meet with Hendrick Motorsports driver Chase Elliott and Richard Childress Racing driver Ryan Newman, who graduated from Purdue University with an engineering degree. The VIP experience also included: pace car rides, garage and pit road tour, and a meet-and-greet with Chevrolet’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Program Manager Alba Colon.
“This was a pretty eye-opening experience that gave me a different perspective of everything involved in racing….it’s pretty amazing,” said Florida A&M senior and scholarship recipient Michael Sanchez.
“Together with Chevrolet, we’re proud to support great talent and recognize these students with a unique, behind-the-scenes NASCAR experience,” said Jim Cassidy, NASCAR senior vice president of racing operations. “We received several impressive submissions and we’re thrilled to see so many students interested in the science and technology behind the sport.”