NASCAR Chevrolet Diversity scholarship honors innovators

Daytona, Beach, Fla. — Four students were recognized for their accomplishment in technology and innovation as NASCAR and Chevrolet announced the winners of the third annual NASCAR Chevrolet Diversity Scholarship Contest Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway.

Four undergraduate students from across the country were awarded a total of $20,000 in scholarships and treated to a VIP experience at Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race, the AAA Texas 500. The winners were recognized in a press conference prior to the race.

The contest challenged students to identify a technology or innovation within NASCAR, then explain how Science, Technology, Engineering & Math (STEM) professionals came to its design in 90-second videos. Video submissions were judged on technical accuracy, creativity and production quality.

Cindy Yen, a sophomore at the University of Southern California, from Santa Monica, California, earned first place and a $10,000 scholarship.

University of Notre Dame freshman Weston Dell, from Frankfort, Illinois, won $5,000. University of Houston student Nima Desai from Houston, Texas, and Broward College freshman Nicole Forero, from Coral Springs, Florida, were awarded third and fourth place, respectively, earning $2,500 scholarships each.

“NASCAR is proud to work with Chevrolet and continue our longstanding commitment to STEM education by recognizing these tremendous students,” said Jim Cassidy, NASCAR senior vice president of racing operations. “These four students were recognized from an outstanding pool of candidates, and it’s a testament to the continued engagement of students in the pursuit of science and technology careers in our sport.”

“It’s an exciting time in the STEM field with the advancement of technology,” said Ken Barrett, chief diversity officer for General Motors. “At GM, we celebrate unique perspectives propelled by diversity and champion innovative ideas; Ideas that change the automotive industry and the world.”

Before taking in the AAA Texas 500, the students had the chance to meet with 2017 NASCAR playoff drivers Jamie McMurray of Chip Ganassi Racing and Ryan Newman with Richard Childress Racing. Newman 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 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Program Manager Alba Colon.