Several years ago, at the Cleveland Auto Show, I ran into a high school student who had convinced his journalism teacher to let him attend the show’s media preview so he could take pictures for a story for the student newspaper.
A gearhead, clearly psyched to see the special edition Chevy Corvette in front of us, I asked about his college plans. About a year from graduating, he said he was paying attention to race results – he was planning to apply to schools that posted the best results in Formula SAE racing that year.
Science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) studies can be a hard sell to some students. Simply put, STEM is hard, requiring more discipline and studying than some humanities and business majors.
Racing, on the other hand, is an easy sell. Non-STEM majors often join student racing teams to handle publicity or accounting and end up turning wrenches with their technically oriented peers. The promise of a seat behind the wheel for a few laps around the track is enough to get students to sacrifice nights and weekends throughout the year.
For 2020’s Today’s Motor Vehicles Commemorative Racing Supplement, we celebrate the hard-working students building STEM careers through racing and highlight an organization using the thrill of the racetrack to get young girls involved in the motor vehicles industry (education feature, Pg. 22). Racing has long served as the auto industry’s test bed for new technologies, and it can serve as its talent incubator as well.