UMSL student Aaron Hinton (back row, third from left) was one of only 14 college students selected for the 2014 NASCAR Diversity Internship program.

Aaron Hinton found his passion for programming in a Java Script course at the University of Missouri–St. Louis. That drive pushed him into information systems and landed him one of only 14 spots in the 2014 NASCAR Diversity Internship program.

“My longtime dream of working in the motorsports industry would not have been possible if it wasn’t for my UMSL education and teachers like Brian Lawton (senior lecturer in information systems),” said Hinton, an information systems student from St. Ann, Mo. “Before I took Lawton’s class, I was unsure if I was interested in the programming side of information systems. However, his upbeat teaching style and the exposure to challenging programming assignments helped me to develop a passion for a career in software development. (His) real-world experience and ability to translate that into things that we as students need to know to be successful in our IS careers has been invaluable.”

Hinton’s interest in IS and love for NASCAR lead to him discovering the internship. He applied and was selected from thousands of applicants to take part in the 10-week paid internship in Charlotte, N.C. While there, students not only learn from those within their selected departments, but through numerous networking opportunities with top NASCAR executives.

“We’re thrilled to have top college students from across the country join us to learn more about our sport,” said Paula Miller, NASCAR vice president and chief human resources officer. “NASCAR is deeply committed to diversity and inclusion in our work force and the NASCAR Diversity Internship Program enables us to identify strong talent early. Through the years we’ve hired many of the program’s participants and seen many others go on to excel elsewhere in sports and business.”

Established nearly 15 years ago to expose multicultural college students to employment opportunities in one of the largest professional sports industries, the NASCAR Diversity Internship Program welcomed the next wave of students seeking to learn about the industry during the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race weekend in May.

Students were treated to an exclusive look at safety and technology innovations with guided tours of the NASCAR Research & Development Center during orientation. They also visited NASCAR Productions, the NASCAR Hall of Fame, Hendrick Motorsports and the Sam Bass Gallery to conclude their overall introduction before diving into day-to-day work with their respective departments.

Jen Hatton

Jen Hatton