Kenna Edwards, a Sylvania Southview High School alumna, recently completed the Women in Motorsports internship at Chip Ganassi Racing, powered by PNC Bank. The program, which seeks to spark dialogue about the importance of equality and inclusion for women in motorsports, gave Edwards valuable hands-on training and inspiration for what’s next in her career.
Edwards, a Sylvania native, had many experiences growing up in Sylvania that shaped her identity and passions. Her family developed her interest in the field of motorsports. When Edwards started taking programming classes at Southview, she found it intrigued her, leading her to sign up for the programming career technical program with instructor, Mr. Jones.
“Without Mr. Jones, I would never have found computer science as a career. I had thought about different types of engineering, all within the STEM area. Once I found programming, it incorporated all of the things I loved. Being able to connect my love for technology and science with a creative outlet was really interesting to me.”
Edwards currently attends the University of Indiana-Bloomsburg. Her many interests in high school are reflected in her degree choice of computer science with a minor in music and political science. Edwards was drawn to Indiana University because of the learning experiences that she could have there in each field she is interested in.
“I’m very glad that I ended up at IU. It’s definitely the right place for me to grow. I wouldn’t have had the opportunities that I have now if I hadn’t gone there.”
Edwards’ interest in motorsports led her to the Women in Motorsports program. The program, at Chip Ganassi Racing, gave her real-world experiences working in a high-level organization. Specifically, Edwards worked as an information technology intern.
“At the track, anything that had a plug and power was IT’s [work], and I was to fix it. At the shop, I was mostly programming. I built a database for them to update their current system of managing all of the parts that they use for the Indy cars and the race setup. Then I built an application for the crew chiefs to use. The skills that I learned there [are] invaluable.”
Edwards hopes to continue her career in computer science, including the possibility of learning new things in software development or robotics, while having motorsports as a passion.
Wherever her work takes her, Edwards will have her passion and background to guide her. “I consider Sylvania one of my homes. It’s my hometown, and I will love it forever. But also, Bloomington and Indianapolis are two other homes. My perspective of home is more about the people I’m with rather than the location. I know that I’ll continue to grow and learn new things as the years go on.”