by Rory Pan, 2018 Miss Georgia’s Outstanding Teen
Editor’s Note: Much to the delight of the contestants in the Diverse Power Grand Prix, five Pageant Queens were in attendance. The young ladies graciously spent time with many of the Greenpower teams. They also handed out trophies and banners, in keeping with Southern tradition.
STEM competitions typically manifest themselves as science fairs, mathcounts competitions, and robotics tournaments—not electric car racing—so when I arrived at Georgia’s first annual Diverse Power Grand Prix at Lagrange College, along with several other Miss Georgia titleholders, the vast, enriching scope of Greenpower racing revealed itself to me.
Middle and high school students involved in greenpower racing are immersed into the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math on a daily basis, experience that puts them ahead on the path towards building their future careers. Not only do they gain the hard skills necessary to understand, build from scratch, and operate their race cars, but through collaborative efforts, these students learn how to work effectively with others, through hurdles and successes, to achieve an ultimate goal. During the races, pit crews were always on standby, ready to address car malfunctions and create immediate solutions; they acted quickly, exchanged tools, and deliberated strategy. The student teams also explained the processes they went through for car construction and presented engineering facts about their projects, thus applying their STEM knowledge to the real world. The action of the races were immensely exciting, but learning about the engineering behind the cars were equally as enticing.
Some may mistakenly believe that participants in greenpower events, or STEM events in general, are overwhelmingly male. That is not the case; young women are increasingly becoming involved in the STEM fields, and we have proved our intellect, strength, and drive–qualities that women have always exhibited. Many young women are involved in greenpower racing, and they benefit greatly from it. The girls we met at the Grand Prix were extensively invested and truly impassioned about their fulfilling activity, and I can only hope more female students will choose to participate.
Young women benefit greatly from greenpower racing as they do pageantry, and there are many parallels between the two. Scholarship is a major component of pageants, as winners and top placements receive scholarships towards college funds and additionally may receive tuition scholarships to colleges. At the Diverse Power Grand Prix, scholarship was emphasized as well: every student attending the race received a $2,500 scholarship to LaGrange College. Moreover, character growth is a major effect of involvement in these activities, as individuals build both communication and leadership skills, maturing by immersing themselves into adult circumstances that most teenagers their age do not experience.
To this end, Greenpower racers and pageant titleholders are quintessential leaders of the up and coming generation, filled with high-achieving, driven individuals ready to break boundaries and establish idealistic goals in pursuit of building our best selves—Greenpower racers, though, with sustainable technology and super awesome race cars.