As president of the Aztec Racing program at San Diego State University and a fifth year mechanical engineering student, Dani Phan was the perfect candidate to be a judge at the Athena Racing team tryouts.

As a judge, Phan said she is “looking forward to evaluating a competitive field of applicants.”

As a leading woman in both motorsports and STEM, Phan offers an essential perspective and valuable first-hand experience to the team of applicants. Like many other women in male-dominated industries, Phan has gone through her fair share of discrimination throughout her journey.

“The biggest hardship that I have had to deal with was individuals that judged me for being a woman, rather than for my intellect and accomplishments. I dealt with this by simply distancing myself from these individuals and continuing with what I was doing,” Phan said.

After pushing through hardship and judgment, Phan took on a leadership role as president of the Aztec Racing program. She got involved with the program during her free time and became more and more involved as she spent time in the environment.

“As an individual who has taken on leadership positions in Aztec Racing, I have learned that mutual respect, communication, and collaboration are qualities necessary between leaders and members. I have been fortunate to have a team that communicates well with each other,” Phan said.

From the experience of earning a leadership role in an automotive program, despite being a woman, Phan said female empowerment is important in every industry. Jobs in the motorsport and STEM fields require a certain type of focused and educated individual, Phan said.

“Female empowerment is mutually beneficial. The industries get more of these driven and intelligent individuals and these women have the opportunity to become accomplished and successful in any industry of their choosing,” Phan said.

Since female empowerment is a key pillar for Athena Racing, it is important for all people involved in the program have that mindset. Phan brings experience, leadership and definitely the goal to support and empower the young ladies trying out for the Athena Racing team.

“Since learning about and getting involved with Athena Racing, I can surely say that I am proud to be a part of this program.  Moreover, I am excited to see how the young women who join Athena Racing grow as a result of their experiences within the program,” Phan said.

In the near future, Phan said she plans to continue her engineering endeavors through management and leadership roles in the industry and eventually educate young adults in STEM at the middle school and high school levels.

On The Track

“Racing is a matter of spirit not strength.”

– Janet Guthrie

“To finish first, you must first finish.”

-Juan Manuel Fangio

Cydney Melton

Cydney Melton

News & Media Assistant

Cydney Melton is a fourth year journalism major at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, but is originally from Cardiff, California. Although she has not spent much time around race cars, she has spent a lot of time riding motorcycles in the desert, on the back of her dad’s Harley and just recently got her own motorcycle license. Cydney is a big advocate for women empowerment and encouraging women in male-dominated industries. She will be working as the News and Media Assistant, highlighting the progress and power of the Athena women as they claim their spot in the racing world.