What STEM careers and this Indy 500 champion have in common

Great Minds in STEM conference connects students with mentors, professionals

ORLANDO, Fla. – When you think of careers in science, technology, engineering and math, race car driving probably isn't the first thing that comes to mind, but three-time Indy 500 champion Helio Castronoves said all four fields actually make his driving career possible.

Castronoves spoke at the Great Minds in STEM conference, teaching students how science, technology, math and engineering come together to make his car safely hit speeds of more than 200 mph.

Great Minds in STEM mentors the next generation of STEM professionals and focuses on under served communities, pairing middle and high school students with mentors.

University of Central Florida student Tomas Serna serves as a mentor. He also attended the Great Minds in STEM conference as a younger student.

"It's very special because you are giving back to your community who once taught you how to get somewhere," he said. "You teach them how to accomplish some of their goals or how to make their families proud and how to succeed in a society  that's very difficult for minorities to succeed."

Great Mind in STEM Chairman of the Board Juan Rivera said it's important for students to hear from professional like Castroneves.

"We show them opportunities. We motivate them to study hard, study the sciences. And then we give them role models of professionals who went through the process and are now contributing to the nation by being a STEM professional," he said.

Great Minds in STEM is in its 31st year. To learn more click here.

About the Author: