At the University of Florida last week, sports merged with science when IndyCar driver Simona De Silvestro visited the campus with her #78 Nuclear Clean Air Energy car to discuss STEM opportunities in the energy industry. The event was part of a joint effort between UF’s College of Engineering and the Nuclear Clean Air Energy educational initiative to promote STEM awareness.
At the event, De Silvestro engaged with students and spoke about job opportunities for science, tech, engineering, and mathematics majors. According to the university, AREVA, Entergy Corp., and KV Racing Technology are part of a sponsorship for the Nuclear Clean Air Energy national education initiative.
De Silvestro’s KV Racing Technology team has hosted a series of STEM tours. Last month, the company invited high school physics students to its race shop, set up with different stations, where engineers on board explained the connection between science and race car tires.
Matthew Dryden, AREVA’s North America vice president of marketing, was onsite at the UF event. “At AREVA, we understand that for the energy sector to succeed, a highly skilled workforce is essential,” he said. “Our clean energy present and future depends on a robust, talented pool of highly skilled engineers, which is why we are so fortunate to partner with the University of Florida to help sustain our industry and develop the next generation of leaders.”
In addition to last week’s STEM-awareness event, the university is making other STEM headlines. Last month, the Gainesville Sun reported that The National Science Foundation awarded the school’s College of Education a $1.2 million grant for undergraduate students in STEM fields who teach in high-need public school districts.