Reaching Victory Lane as a NASCAR Intern

Kelsey Nelson, Special to The Informer | 7/29/2013, 12:48 p.m.
Ten weeks and a new wealth of knowledge later, I sit in my apartment in Charlotte, N.C., reflecting on my ...
Kelsey Nelson (left) was one of 19 students chosen for NASCAR's diversity internship program this summer.

Looking back, I could have never chosen a better way to spend the first part of the summer. Having just celebrated my 21st birthday, I am thankful to have been given the opportunity because I met great individuals with whom I hope to keep relationships.

I am also grateful I was able to intern with NASCAR during the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington. If it had not been for the great African-American leaders that came before me, I probably would not have gotten the chance to say I interned for NASCAR. It was those like Martin Luther King Jr., Medgar Evers, Rosa Parks, Fannie Lou Hamer and countless others who fought and died so that I and others could pursue whatever my heart desired for a career and be treated like everyone else.

Marco Sánchez, a Mexican-American senior at Georgia State University said, "My experience with NASCAR has been a once in a lifetime opportunity that has given me preparation for everything that I am to expect in corporate America. I was not treated like an intern but like an employee. I learned how to apply the concepts I learn through school and gave me an idea of what I should look out for in my last year as an undergraduate."

Two suitcases packed. One dream not deferred. One promise to fulfilled, to learn all I could. On the half-hour taxi ride to the airport, I was sad to leave NASCAR and all the wonderful memories made, but glad I would be able to spread this wealth of knowledge learned in my own community, especially to those minority children who are not always able to see faces like mine in their dream jobs.

But don't think for a second this is the end. I am still on life's journey to find my victory lane in the sports industry and am excited to be on the way into the next adventure life holds for me.