ATLANTA, GA (July 27) - The STEAM Sports Foundation has announced that Kettering University’s Kimberly Betty, a second-year mechanical engineering student with a 3.89 GPA, will receive the foundation’s inaugural automotive/motorsports scholarship given to a female of color with aspirations of a career in motorsports, alternative energies and/or autonomous vehicles. As part of the grant, Betty will do an internship under the auspices of NASCAR with either the series or one of its teams. The $5,000 grant is for the 2021-22 academic year.
“When we established this grant,” said foundation Executive Director Bob Dickinson, “we wanted it to be unique in the industry and go to a very special person. We are convinced that we have accomplished that. Women of color are vastly underserved in the automotive and motorsports industry. We’ve vowed to help change that.”
Betty, a graduate of St. Hugh’s High School in Saint Andrew, Jamaica, has been a stalwart on Kettering’s campus since her arrival. Her activities and achievements include Society of Women Engineers, American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Society of Plastic Engineers, National Society of Black Engineers, Black Student Union, International Club President, Robot Key Award, AIM Scholar and Virtual Ideathon Leader.
In addition, her interest in autonomous vehicles led her to explore its future via an internship at THK Rhythm Automotive. Realizing that steering equipment like steering linkage will eventually be replaced by steer-by-wire technology, Betty created and hopes to introduce a machine that would speed production, reduce human interaction, and cut production cost that might allow THK to remain more competitive in the interim until such a transition is undertaken.
“Being the first recipient of this scholarship/internship means a lot to me,” said Betty. “Coming from Jamaica, I had very little exposure to automotive and robotics; however, the environment that Kettering curates for its students has been a driving force for me to learn more and become more involved in the industry. This scholarship not only alleviates my financial burden but also allows me to learn more about the racing industry and autonomous vehicles.”
“We are excited to be a part of Betty’s academic and career development,” said Brandon Thompson, NASCAR’s Vice President for Diversity & Inclusion. “We look forward to her participation in the NASCAR Diversity Internship Program, and hope the program encourages her to pursue a full-time career in the NASCAR industry.”
“Great applicants made for a difficult review process,” said Matt Jennings, Microsoft's Vice President of Customer Success and head of the selection committee. “Not only were our finalists exceptional students, they were outstanding young women who are making contributions to society as much as forging future careers. But in the end, we thought Kimberly exceled in all areas. We look forward to seeing her continued growth.”
Finalists for the grant included women representing the Black, Native American, Asian and Hispanic communities.
In addition to Jennings, the selection committee consisted of Thompson, Denise Quarles, Siemen’s Head of External Affairs/Southeast Region, Siemens Foundation Board of Directors; Juliana Chiovitti, founder of The Motorsports Agency; and William White, a STEAM Sports Foundation board member, graduate of Ohio State’s mechanical engineering program, former NFL player and investor/advisor to Trazer.
About STEAM Sports Foundation
STEAM Sports Foundation works with companies, educators and sports organizations to develop initiatives around science, technology, engineering, arts and math that prepare and excite America’s youth in an effort to unite business, education and sports while creating tomorrow’s vibrant workforce. The Georgia-based 501c3’s primary focus is on scholarships and educational summits that involve both students and corporations.