NASCAR Diversity Internship Program Announces 2019 Class

Story By: PETE STUART / NASCAR – DAYTONA BEACH, FL – As NASCAR® and its fans prepare to celebrate 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race weekend in Charlotte, N.C., the industry will welcome today the newest class of interns selected to the NASCAR Diversity Internship Program (NDIP).

Twenty-eight undergraduate and graduate students from universities across the country will begin orientation today in Charlotte and participate in a motorsports tour that will include Charlotte Motor Speedway, the NASCAR Hall of Fame and the other racing venues in and around the city.

On Saturday, May 19, the new intern class will experience the Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race (8 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, channel 90) live from Charlotte Motor Speedway as NASCAR’s brightest stars compete for $1 million in prize money.

“For many, the NASCAR Diversity Internship Program provides an introduction to motorsports as well as valuable, hands-on experience in an industry rich with opportunity,” said Paula Miller, NASCAR senior vice president and chief human resources officer. “As we welcome each new class, we’re reminded of the many careers launched by this program and the positive impact our graduates continue to have on the sport.”

One of the premier internships in sports, NDIP offers college students from diverse backgrounds a unique and practical experience in the motorsports industry. More than 400 students and several industry partners have participated in NDIP since its inception in 2000.

Twenty-four former interns are currently employed in the NASCAR industry. The list includes Jusan Hamilton, who in 2017 became the first African American to serve as race director for a NASCAR national series event. In addition to his race director responsibilities, Hamilton oversees the NASCAR Drive for Diversity driver and pit crew development programs.

Brandon Thompson, a 15-year NASCAR industry veteran, completed NDIP internships in 2003 and 2004 in between semesters at Clark Atlanta University. Thompson now runs the Touring Series for NASCAR as managing director.

Katherine Lee, another NDIP alum, works on the events team at NASCAR and organizes high-profile events such as the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Awards and NASCAR Fuel for Business events. In 2017, Dejah Gilliam was a communications intern at NASCAR and now, as a fulltime member of the team, supports industry initiatives across several teams and tracks.

Maryland native Kenneth Lee was part of last year’s NDIP class, and following his internship was hired as an associate producer for Motor Racing Network (MRN) in Concord, N.C. As part of orientation on Friday, Lee will give the new interns a tour of MRN studios.

The 2019 NDIP class will have roles at NASCAR and program partners across the industry which include International Speedway Corporation (ISC), Toyota, MRN and several tracks and teams.

Throughout the program, interns will interact with industry professionals at an array of networking events and lunch-and-learns led by NASCAR executives. The interns will also have access to mentors and NDIP alumni currently working at the sanctioning body and partner organizations.

NDIP is open to sophomores, juniors, seniors and graduate-level college students and offers hands-on experience with one of the top sports industries in the country. The internship provides opportunities to multicultural students from all majors with a minimum grade point average of 3.0.

The 2019 NASCAR Diversity Internship Program class includes:

Name Department University
Rocco Babun NASCAR Partnership Marketing Elon University
Evelis Casey Watkins Glen International Loyola University Maryland
Gerald Donaldson NASCAR Graphic Design Clemson University
Carlos Fernandez NASCAR Finance University of Vermont
Aditya Baban Ghawre NASCAR Research & Development North Carolina State University
Dontre Graves Rev Racing Jackson State University
Wesley Hopkins Roush Fenway Racing University of Connecticut
John Huger Jr. ISC Partnership Marketing & Sales Bethune-Cookman University
MaKenzie Johnson Toyota Claflin University
Suzi Lee NASCAR Licensing California State University, Fullerton
Lawrence McMillion II Richmond Raceway Virginia State University
Jordan Mitchell NASCAR Driver Marketing University of Tulsa
Sean Montgomery NASCAR Digital Content Georgia College
Kylee Morgan Richard Childress Racing University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Seth Myers ISC Legal Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University
Julia Nowicki ISC Digital Communications Syracuse University
Monon Rahman NASCAR Research & Development University of Kentucky
Lukens Rivil NASCAR Legal Florida A&M University College of Law
Savanna Samuels NASCAR International Broadcasting Howard University
Justin Sifford NASCAR Technical Inspection NASCAR Technical Institute
Isabella Sisneros Daytona International Speedway Arizona State University
Jai Hyun So NASCAR Analytics & Insights University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Cora Taft ISC Sales Academy Georgetown University
Avery Oliver The NASCAR Foundation Rhodes College
Charles Tsao Michigan International Speedway University of Michigan
Tanvee Wakankar NASCAR Digital Media University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Mia Williams NASCAR Communications Towson University
Lucia Zapata NASCAR Growth Segments University of Central Florida