Racing Events Spark STEM Connections

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INDIANAPOLIS -

Multiple off-track initiatives at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway are spotlighting the connections among racing, technical skills and innovation for middle school, high school and college students. The Student Karting World Finals, M-STEM3 Student Fair and the Honda STEAM Connections Tour provide participants experiences that demonstrate science, technology, engineering, arts and math pathways and career possibilities. M-STEM3, which stands for Motorsports STEM for Manufacturing and Medicine, is a Purdue education initiative focused on sparking students' interest in STEM fields through interactions at IMS.

Bob Dickinson, founder of Georgia-based STEAM Sports Group, is the organizer of the activities that will run through Friday. In an interview with Inside INdiana Business Reporter Mary-Rachel Redman, he said students and employers benefit. Dickinson's company works with Honda to make connections among colleges, students and companies at events in cities where Verizon IndyCar Series races are held. "A lot of companies have a real shortage of talent -- the work force challenge -- and when Honda came to us and they said 'we would really like to be on college campuses working with colleges about where the future of the job force might be.' We said that's great, but wouldn't it be good if we could have those same universities who would like to have middle school and high school kids come to campus, so that they could learn about the opportunities available at those universities as well," Dickinson said.

The International Collegiate evGrandPrix Series and the High School Go Karting Series will be part of the Student Karting World Finals Tuesday through Thursday. The students have created more than 40 all-electric carts for the competitions. Purdue Director of Motorsports Danny White says "this program makes students college and/or career ready. It involves liberal arts students, computer science students, engineering students and so many other disciplines. They are basically a fully functional race team starting from scratch." In addition to building the kart, students also work on sponsorship, community outreach, design and logistical elements.

More than 1,000 high school students are slated to attend the M-STEM3, which takes place Tuesday and Wednesday,

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