Southlake Native Revs Up for Career at NASCAR
Jul 25, 2017 07:53AM
● By Audrey Sellers
The 2017 NASCAR Diversity Internship Program (NDIP) welcomed 26 of the brightest students from across the country—including Southlake native Zane Smith. The Southern Methodist University student studies mechanical engineering and plans to seek full-time engineering opportunities at NASCAR upon graduation.
NASCAR’s 10- week paid internship offers an array of college students from diverse backgrounds the opportunity to gain hands-on experience within their fields of study and has led to future employment with NASCAR and partnering organizations.
This year, 14 former NDIP interns currently working in the industry full-time will help mentor the students throughout the internship. Mentors include Brandon Thompson, senior director of NASCAR touring series; Lauren Houston, manager of NASCAR Multicultural Development; Pedro Mojica, Richard Petty Motorsports engineer; and Jusan Hamilton, manager of NASCAR racing operations and event management.
Hamilton made history earlier this year by becoming the first African-American to serve as a race director for a NASCAR national series event.
“For nearly 20 years, the NASCAR Diversity internship program has provided talented students with hands-on experience in the motorsports industry,” said Jim Cassidy, NASCAR senior vice president of racing operations, via press release. “The program has also helped NASCAR identify future leaders in the industry and continues to serve as an important part of our efforts to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace.”
In its 18th year, NDIP has introduced hundreds of students from diverse backgrounds to professional opportunities in NASCAR. The program has also served as a pipeline for identifying and hiring top talent across the motorsports industry. In addition to NASCAR, 2017 interns will be working at NASCAR partner companies including Rev Racing, Roush Fenway Racing, Pocono Raceway, Toyota, and the International Speedway Corporation.
The 2017 NDIP class began its NASCAR experience with an orientation session at the NASCAR Research and Development Center in Concord. The group visited the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte and the NASCAR Production Studio, as well as the race shop for Rev Racing, which fields cars for the NASCAR Drive for Diversity program.
The class also put its own racing skills to the test at Victory Lane Karting. In addition, the interns met with key stakeholders in the NASCAR industry including Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series crew members, drivers, and NASCAR executives.
For many, attending the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race, Monster Energy Open and Monster Energy All-Star Race from Charlotte Motor Speedway this weekend will be their first live NASCAR experience.
Throughout the internship, the students will contribute to the industry and gain experience working in marketing, engineering, public relations, licensing, diversity and public affairs. They will also learn from leading NASCAR executives in weekly lunch-and-learn sessions and networking events with professionals across the industry.
The NASCAR Diversity Internship program offers diverse students an opportunity to work in one of the largest professional sports industries in the United States. Each year, the internships are available to college sophomores, juniors, seniors and graduate students across the country. To be eligible, students must be in good standing with their school and community and have a minimum 3.0 GPA.
Click here to view the 2017 NDIP class.