NASCAR: Helping STEM Education Race Forward
October 26, 2012 3 Comments
One surprising (or not so surprising, it turns out) partner in the effort to promote STEM education in our nation is NASCAR. The famous National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing is bringing students from across the country to its speedway in Daytona to compete in mini-races of their own. Students have the opportunity to design and build their own cars for the grand prix competition while learning about engineering, math, and science. The goal of these initiatives is to get American youth to connect on a personal and academic level to STEM education through having fun and seeing how these skills apply in real life.
Having students pursue studies in STEM is not only a benefit for the individual but also for America: as seen in PAGE’s past report on the need for skilled labor in our manufacturing sector, skills in science, technology, engineering, and math represent an important investment in keeping our workforce competitive and relevant in the global labor market. Says Christine DeMichael, NASCAR senior manager of consumer marketing, “We are really focused on where our next engineers and team members will come from. Hands-on programs like this tie the science to something they can actually touch and feel and be a part of.” Likewise, NASCAR managing director of research and development Mike Fisher confirms “STEM education programs are critical to the future of our country and tie very well back into our sport.”
“Ten80 Education Student Racing Challenge: NASCAR STEM Initiative” is one such program, bringing over 100 students from six high schools and middle schools in the Concord, North Carolina area together to learn, test their skills, and have fun in an innovative way. Not only do many participants attribute their interest in math and science to the Student Racing Challenge, but they can also see the exciting career options where these skills are desired. Certainly, NASCAR and other American companies may be reaping the rewards of this investment in the future!
Posted by: Sophia Higgins