July 21, 2017

Steer Into STEM is helping local students steer their personal career paths and discover opportunities available within the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math.

New College Institute (NCI) hosted this camp in partnership with the Wendell Scott Foundation, an organization created in honor of Wendell Scott, NASCAR’s first African American driver and NASCAR Hall of Famer.

“These students are what we care most about,” said Warrick Scott, executive director of the foundation and grandson of Wendell Scott. “These students are our future. All of these young men and women are truly brilliant. I think camps like these prove that there’s a certain amount of community synergy and a certain amount of education opportunity that we all pull together and work together.”

Dr. Leanna Blevins, executive director of NCI, agreed, “Our partnership with the Wendell Scott Foundation is just one way that NCI is creating innovative educational opportunities. Exposing students to new technology and new places inspires them to think outside the box and consider new opportunities that they may not have known before. We want students in our area to be aware of educational and career opportunities available to them, especially within the growing STEM fields.”

Students engage in hands-on activities that immerse them with job-readiness training, vocational training and STEM career exploration. The camp featured STEM-based lessons using racing simulators and field trips to racing destinations such as Virginia International Raceway (VIR) located near Danville, VA, and Pit Crew U in Mooresville, NC.

Though the camp incorporated all the latest technology, history was also a central element in the instruction. The camp emphasized the accomplishments of Wendell Scott and his ability to persevere through obstacles and find creative solutions when he faced barriers.

“If it were not for my grandfather, my father, the rest of my family and their sacrifices, there would not be a Wendell Scott Foundation,” Scott shared, while introducing his father, Frank Scott. “You’re looking at one of the few living members of Wendell Scott’s pit crew and crew chief. He is a true gem in our state and our region.”

While addressing the students of the camp, Frank Scott encouraged them to “dream fiercely and work tirelessly” to accomplish their own personal goals. He also recounted personal stories from his father, Wendell Scott’s racing career. Though faced with racism and other obstacles, he persisted, achieved his goals, and broke barriers.

NCI and the Wendell Scott Foundation are also partnering together for a networking and social event this Friday to be called “Legendary Conversations.” The event will include a cocktail hour, networking, and then panelist discussions with first-hand accounts recalling the successes and trials faced by the foundation’s namesake, Wendell Scott. The event is free to attend. For more information, visit www.NewCollegeIntitute.org or call (276) 403-5610.