Student utilizes ISE knowledge through auto racing internship

Published: Oct 3, 2023 11:00 AM

By Victoria Martino

Maggie Whittle, a senior studying industrial and systems engineering (ISE), recently spent her second summer as a project and race support engineer intern at Hendrick Motorsports in Charlotte, North Carolina. Hendrick Motorsports is a professional auto racing organization that competes in the NASCAR Cup Series. 

Racing has always been in Whittle’s life, growing up in Charlotte, North Carolina, home to NASCAR’s headquarters. 

“Being a fan of the sport encouraged me to pursue a dream career in the industry, and I was very fortunate to have an opportunity to do so,” Whittle said. 

Whittle was an intern for Alba Colon, director of Competition Systems at Hendrick, in the production department. 

“My role was to complete projects to help our race teams and support the race teams on the weekends during practice, qualifying and the race,” she said. 

Whittle learned about the impact of technology on racing. She helped teach an artificial intelligence voice recognition and accurate text-to-speech program for every race team’s radio.

“Being thrown into a high-paced, rigorous environment taught me how to focus on what I can do to achieve goals of continuous improvements all focused on winning,” Whittle said. 

During her 10-week internship, Whittle spent each day helping with a different task. Some days, she would assist in running simulators by changing shocks, tires and springs. Other days, she would work on creating programs to help execute strategy for race teams. 

“After the race ends on Sunday evening, you start preparing for the next race the next Sunday,” Whittle said. “This schedule has taught me how to keep up with a high-paced environment.” 

On the weekends, Whittle supported the race teams by scanning competitor's radios for information on their strategy calls and car balance, tracked restart lane choice gain, tracked pit strategies and supplied the teams with relevant information as it happened during the race.

Whittle's time in ISE at Auburn prepared her for the internship by providing her with a different perspective on processes. She gained valuable skills that will support her in her future career.

On campus, she is involved in the Auburn Engineering Co-op & Career Ambassadors program. 

“Through this program, I get to share my internship experiences with younger students and encourage them to gain experience of their own,” Whittle said. “I help build students' resumes, prepare them for interviews and answer any questions they have.”

Whittle has enjoyed being pushed and challenged by the ISE program.

“It has taught me how I can transform my natural instincts into a career and the skill set I need for the future,” she said.

After she finishes her ISE degree, Whittle hopes to pursue a career in racing working on competition strategy, team support and process improvement. 

“The short cycle of racing each week is truly focused on speed throughout the week to be completely ready and prepared on Sunday,” Whittle said. “This taught me that I thrive in a fast-paced environment and enjoy multitasking.”
Media Contact: Carla Nelson,, 334-844-1404
Racing has always been in Whittle’s life, growing up in Charlotte, North Carolina, home to NASCAR’s headquarters.

Racing has always been in Whittle’s life, growing up in Charlotte, North Carolina, home to NASCAR’s headquarters.

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