Many San Diego community partners believe in the message of Athena Racing and plan to do their part in helping young ladies experience STEM and automotive industries.

As Athena Racing was born in San Diego, our community partners are eager to be involved with the first all-female automotive racing team. Their support ensures the inaugural team has ample support to learn and compete in all things STEM and automotive.

The female focus of Athena caught the Elementary Institute of Science’s (EIS) attention when they decided to become a community partner. EIS leads their own female-focused program, Girls Take Flight, where they instruct young girls how to build, program, and fly drones to become certified drone pilots. They are on their second year of the program and have seen excellent outcomes. EIS said they plan to pair the Girls Take Flight program with Athena Racing to capture footage of the inaugural racing team.

“The tremendous time commitment Athena Racing pours into each girl in the program is also something that resonates with us. This is the kind of work that changes people’s lives,” EIS said.

Expand Your Horizons (EYH), a non-profit that provides middle school, high school, and undergraduate women with hands-on learning experiences to get girls excited about STEM fields and career paths.

“We were enamored by the original concept of using a race team to deliver the interdisciplinary concepts of science, engineering, and leadership to young women. There are several STEM programs available to girls and young women in San Diego county, but few are as multifaceted as Athena Racing,” EYH said.

To improve STEM outreach in San Diego, EYH said mentorship is a crucial component to incorporating more young women into programming in San Diego County, while also using more applied activities.

Not only are the young women important in the development of STEM, but also their educators play a key role in developing the initial interest and outreach in the classroom. Our community partner Encorps has a program called The EnCorps STEM Teachers Fellowship, which, “recruits, selects, develops and supports the best and brightest STEM professionals as an innovative, long-term solution to the shortage of high quality, impactful educators for under-resourced students in high needs schools,” Encorps said. One community partner, Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents (ALAS), “provides leadership at the national level that assures every school in America effectively serves the educational needs of all students, with an emphasis on Latino youth, by building capacity, promoting best practices and transforming educational institutions,” ALAS said. ALAS supports Athena Racing because the program is breaking down “gender-based perceptions and inequities,” ALAS said, and opening doors for all girls, particularly underrepresented girls, to enter the STEM industries.
Introducing young ladies to their opportunities in the STEM industries as soon as possible is extremely important. The inaugural team will be promoting Athena Racing to younger girls in elementary schools and middle schools to spark their interest in STEM as early as possible.
The San Diego Public Library, another community partner, has the same mindset. “We believe that we are the first public library system to launch a system-wide STEAM program, Spring into STEAM, offering multiple program options to students at our 36 library locations. With this program, we are able to reach 9-12 year-olds in all communities of San Diego,” San Diego Public Library said. San Diego Public Library aims to reach all ages, even toddlers in the future, with a variety of STEM/STEAM programs. Another community partner who said they feel child outreach can improve participation in STEM is the Society of Women Engineers (SWE). SWE said, ”SWE, along with other San Diego organizations, can work together to provide extracurricular activities and events to local schools to hopefully educate young adults about STEM. This can be done by collectively funding and providing the networking resources to plan and fulfill educational events.” SWE is a non-profit at SDSU that works to support women academically and socially in engineering. SWE said the feel Athena Racing is an excellent opportunity for young women to gain exposure in engineering prior to college, and to eventually lead young women into careers in engineering. Community partner Barnes & Noble said they feel collaboration is vital when it comes to improving the STEM outreach in San Diego County. “I always appreciate the opportunity to connect with the other members of the STEM community. I lead large STEM/STEAM events in Barnes & Noble focused on family and community engagement where members of our STEM community often share their knowledge and talents,” Barnes & Noble said. Barnes & Noble said they were drawn to Athena Racing Executive Director Loxley Browne’s passion for supporting young girls. “Her program will combine valuable components, including leadership development, technical training, mentoring, speaking opportunities, entrepreneurship, and community engagement. This knowledge base and hands-on experience will give the students a jumpstart in both their personal and professional pursuits,” Barnes & Noble said.

Most importantly, San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE), partnered with Athena Racing due to their shared interest in providing all students, especially historically underserved groups, with equal opportunities to enter STEM industries and other careers.

The SDCOE College and Career Readiness Team works to bridge students’ classroom experience to the labor market by working with regional employers and students.

“Through guest speakers, site tours, internships, and other work-based learning activities, students explore a variety of occupations and industries and learn about the in-demand skills employers are looking for when hiring,” SDCOE said.

Since Athena Racing aims to work with high school-aged young ladies, SDCOE has helped spread the word about the upcoming all-female Athena Racing team to San Diego County schools, administrators and teachers.

All current and future community partners play a huge role in supporting what Athena Racing stands for and an even more significant role in supporting the brave young ladies that will make up the inaugural Athena Racing team.

If you are interested in supporting the goals of Athena Racing and helping young ladies everywhere enter male-dominated STEM and automotive industries, please reach out and partner with us.

Working towards equality for women in STEM is a collaboration of efforts, so let’s work together to make this happen.


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