Category Archives: Engineering Students

Hot Rod and NASCAR Programs Offer STEM Learning Opportunities

Hot Rod and NASCAR Programs Offer STEM Learning Opportunities

The auto industry is no stranger to bringing education in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) to youth. In fact, over the last decade, several automobile manufacturers have helped to establish STEM learning initiatives in high schools nationwide. A STEM learning initiative known as SME PRIME Schools focuses on promoting automotive-related manufacturing engineering.

Students who are not fortunate enough to be able to enroll in one of these SME PRIME Schools can pursue other opportunities to advance their STEM skills through automotive technology. These opportunities are offered by organizations such as the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA), the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR), and the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA).

NHRA YES Program

The NHRA offers a STEM education program called YES, standing for Youth and Education Services, a motorsports program which is appropriate for students from middle school to post-secondary school. Established in 1989, the YES program provides quality educational activities and programs for youth. The NHRA boasts more than 25,000 student participants. In addition, the NHRA notes that the YES program, which highlights how STEM concepts apply to drag racing, is free to participants and consists of both lesson plans and events at NHRA-sponsored drag races across the country.

NHRA Racing

The lesson plans offered on the YES program’s website focus on STEM topics such as acceleration, precision measurements, velocity, safety engineering, and computation, among others. Other lessons relate to language arts and business marketing. Students who complete these lessons prior to attending a race day YES program can benefit by observing real-world applications of the lessons during the races.

Another part of the YES program occurs on race days when the NHRA explains that students attend races as part of chaperoned school groups or as members of other organized groups or clubs. In the track’s midway, participants can enjoy interactive displays, contests, and the chance to observe the technology used in NHRA race cars up close. They can also attend presentations by NHRA officials, NHRA race teams, and other speakers focused on STEM-related career opportunities. Additionally, students can access the track’s pit area where they can have personal conversations with race teams.

NASCAR Technical Institute

The NASCAR Technical Institute (NASCAR Tech) is a partnership with Universal Technical Institute, a multi-site higher education institution headquartered in Illinois that offers automotive-related STEM education to students aged 16 and up who have completed a high school education. According to NASCAR Tech, the school’s location in Mooresville, North Carolina, is easily accessible to many paved and dirt race tracks, most significantly Charlotte Motor Speedway. The school’s website notes that it opened in 2002 and offers two programs with four specialties on a 146,000-square-foot campus with 16 labs and 39 classrooms.

Pit crew Nascar

NASCAR Tech’s two program options are automotive technology and computer numerical control (CNC) machining. In the CNC machining program, students learn to manufacture automotive parts. The program encompasses learning to read blueprints, being able to interpret geometric dimensioning and tolerancing, and becoming capable of programming and operating lathes and mills, among other skills.

Additionally, according to NASCAR Tech, its automotive technology program prepares students to maintain and repair imported and domestic automobiles. The program also offers specialized training in which students focus on specific manufacturers, such as Ford, Nissan, and Fiat Chrysler. NASCAR Tech also notes it is the only NASCAR-sanctioned provider of NASCAR-specific training, which includes aerodynamics, fabrication, welding, pit crewing, and more. To date, students in this program have built engines that have won 40 NASCAR races.

SEMA Education

SEMA offers educational initiatives in three areas: professional development, career services, and student programs. In the area of professional development, the SEMA website lists several options, including seminars that take place at the annual SEMA Show, which is a trade show for automotive specialty market equipment industry insiders; a collection of videos available through SEMA’s YouTube channel; and a webinar series focused on business operations. In the area of career services, SEMA’s website provides a link to a job search portal for professionals and potential interns where users can learn about career opportunities in specialty automotive equipment businesses.

When it comes to student programs, the SEMA website describes several initiatives. One allows students to attend the SEMA Show, where they can view exhibits from more than 2,400 specialty automotive equipment companies, participate in a young entrepreneur business competition, attend professional development seminars, and take part in networking opportunities, including the Gear Up Girl program for women in the industry. SEMA also notes that it partners with 10 high schools across the country to offer specialized auto shop education and provide the schools with specialty automotive equipment, enabling students to build custom vehicles. Additionally, SEMA offers a scholarship and loan forgiveness program, an initiative offering up to $5,000 in funding for students pursuing an education related to the automotive industry.

3 Young Women Earn Top STEM Honors at the 2019 ISEF: What You Need to Know

One of the most prominent sponsors of educational programs in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) is Intel. The company sponsors a mobile Tech Learning Lab that has traveled the United States bringing high-tech STEM education to students. Intel also sponsors the renowned International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF). In 2019, three of the top… Continue Reading

Spotlight on 7 Groups That Encourage Women to Pursue STEM Majors

Spotlight on 7 Groups That Encourage Women to Pursue STEM Majors

Over the last few years, many studies have shown a gender gap in STEM fields. Publicity about this gender gap has brought attention to the fact that fewer women than men are working in STEM-related jobs. Such a situation is worrisome for many reasons. Among them is the lost potential that the gender gap represents.… Continue Reading

Get Your Degree in a STEM Field with These Scholarships

Get Your Degree in a STEM Field with These Scholarships

STEM education has been a hot topic over the past few years, with an emphasis on skills in science, technology, engineering, and math. Many career opportunities exist in these fields, so schools are shaping educational programs to prepare students for the modern workforce. According to a report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS),… Continue Reading

5 Reasons Why STEM Mentorship Is Important

5 Reasons Why STEM Mentorship Is Important

In order to continue growing at its current pace, the collective US STEM sector will need to hire over 9 million individuals by 2022. Jobs falling within the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics have been surging for over a decade. STEM careers have increased by 16 percent between 2005 and 2012, even as… Continue Reading

How to Encourage More Diversity in STEM Fields

How to Encourage More Diversity in STEM Fields

The areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics provide an ever-growing number of professional opportunities. As many as 20 percent of all American jobs fall within STEM sectors, and while job growth in non-STEM fields is likely to grow by 12 percent over the next decade, STEM positions will outpace this growth at a rate… Continue Reading

Business Leaders Hope to Inspire Students with Free Hidden Figures Tickets

The film Hidden Figures has recently taken the United States by storm, garnering critical acclaim and soaring to the top of the US box office. Released on December 25, 2016, the biographical drama tells the inspiring true story of three African American women whose contributions to NASA research helped to develop the foundation for the… Continue Reading

EHTP’s Robotics Program Inspires Future Technology Leaders

The East Harlem Tutorial Program (EHTP) robotics team, “Warriors of EHTP: Team 1880,” is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. Founded in 2006, Team 1880 marked EHTP’s first foray into the cutting-edge world of robotics engineering. Recognizing the need to develop more future leaders in the STEM disciplines (science, technology, engineering, and math), EHTP launched… Continue Reading