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New intern program focuses on females in motorsports

By Jill Sheridan, IPB News | Published on in Education, Entertainment, Sports
Interns Rebecca Hutton of IUPUI, Jennifer Short of Purdue University, and Kenna Edwards of Indiana University began their program this week at Chip Ganassi Racing. - Jill Sheridan/WFYI

A group of female interns will spend the summer learning more about motorsports as part of a new internship program intended to drive gender equality in the sport.

Women students from Indiana University, Purdue University and IUPUI will be immersed in this year’s IndyCar season, including the 106th running of the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday. Two more women, one from Harper College and one from the University of North Texas, are part of the program as well.

The motorsports industry is still largely male-dominated.  Intern Rebecca Hutton, a senior with IUPUI’s motorsports program, said she’s proud to be part of an improved pipeline.

“There aren’t any women drivers out there today not because women drivers aren’t good at driving but it’s a numbers game and so more females would be in the paddocks if more females start the journey,” Hutton said.

The interns will assist on projects and work closely with team leaders on racing operations, engineering, and athletic training. The Women In Motorsports program is a partnership between PNC Bank and Chip Ganassi Racing.

PNC Head of Enterprise Technology and Security Debbie Guild said the women will get plenty of hands-on experience.

“They are 100 percent rolling up their shirt sleeves and getting involved in the engineering and the IT and the athletic training processes and they’re working elbow to elbow with the greats,” Guild said.

Contact WFYI city government and policy reporter Jill Sheridan at jsheridan@wfyi.org. Follow on Twitter: @JillASheridan.