Jennifer Short just finished her sophomore year at Purdue University, but she’s already getting real-world experience in engineering that few of her peers can match. Short was in the pit area of the Indianapolis 500 this past weekend as part of the Chip Ganassi Racing team. She was selected for the inaugural class of interns for the Women in Motorsports, a program launched by the Ganassi team and PNC Bank.
In an interview with Around INdiana reporter Mary-Rachel Redman, Short said the experience has already surpassed what she envisioned.
“I think women in motorsports is important. Because we’ve got a different view, we look at things in a different light than men do. And especially now that we’re breaking into the field. They’ve shown that teams that have women on them are the first to develop new ideas,” said Short.
The Women In Motorsports program, which was launched earlier this year, aims to create awareness and support for gender equality and economic inclusion for women in the motorsports workforce.
Five women were selected to the initial cohort which is designed to accelerate career pathways and mentorship opportunities.
“They’re gonna be literally working elbow to elbow with the engineers, obviously, with the owners with the drivers,” said Debbie Guild, head of enterprise technology and security for PNC. “They’re getting great networks. They’re getting great exposure. They’re gaining a huge understanding about what it means. But interestingly enough, they’re also understanding what are the barriers for others.
Throughout the program, the interns will take part in on-site learning and career development during the 2022 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season.
“There’s gonna be more women getting interested in the early stages of the sport so that they come through to this at the elite level as it is here,” said Dario Franchitti, three-time Indy 500 winner. The makeup of our team looks different because we’ve got the best people doesn’t matter, you know, the gender, the color, any of those things. And so it should be.”
The interns will work with race team managers and department leaders to assist with the team’s racing functions, including operations, engineering, information technology, and athletic training.
The interns are listed below:
- Kenna Edwards, Information Technology – Indiana University
- Leela Edwards, Mechanic/Subassembly – Harper College
- Rebecca Hutton, Engineering – Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis
- Jennifer Short, Engineering – Purdue University
- Jessica Young, Athletic Training – University of North Texas