Motorsports Student Spotlight
During the 2009 racing season the Indy Racing League (IRL) had some interns helping out on the track. One of those interns was Matt Codalata. We've interviewed Matt to learn more about his college career and internship experience with the IRL.Major: Motorsports Engineering
Hometown: Indianapolis, Indiana
Why did you choose to study at IUPUI?
How did you get your internship?
Tell us about your internship with the IRL. Being associated with the IRL itself is something I wasn't expecting. I was thrilled to land this internship. From an employment standpoint this position will provide a great reference for me wherever I want to go.
Through the internship I travelled to various races and helped with timing and scoring to ensure all teams received their data. I felt like the professionals provided a lot of guidance. They were very knowledgeable and helped me understand how to do things the right way.
How did your internship benefit you?
At IUPUI I'm involved in:
Formula SAE Team
What are your post-IUPUI plans? I want to work in motorsports. That's my dream and that's what makes me excited to get up in the morning.
My advice for incoming students:
• Get involved as much as you can and meet as many people as you can. Even if you aren't a very talkative person, which can be a downfall of engineers, you have to push yourself to step out of your comfort zone and get to know people.
• Whatever you set out to do, always do your best.
• Formula SAE is a great thing to get involved in because you get to experience building a car. Internships are also extremely beneficial and will help you land your future career.
Major: Motorsports Engineering
The Motorsports Engineering program.Activities on & off campus:
•IUPUI Formula SAE - Secretary
Become a lead engineer or crew chief on a professional racing team.How has IUPUI/ your college experience impacted you?
College has taught me to become a more independent person. Also, I am now more goal-orientated because my peers encourage me to strive for success.How did you become interested in motorsports?
My family has been involved with some sort of motorsport for years. After being exposed to motorsports from your family, it's hard not to gain an interest.Favorite personal motorsports memory:
Winning the USAC Western States Ford Focus Championship in 2005 with my family. My brother was the driver, my parents owned the car and I was the crew chief. We felt a tremendous amount of satisfaction and achievement and the championship propelled our team to the next level. With this championship I became the youngest championship-winning crew chief in USAC history.
Major: Motorsports Engineering
I have always been interested in engineering. I chose to pursue a degree at IUPUI because they offered extensive educational training in not just engineering, but specifically in motorsports engineering. Additionally, the Indianapolis campus is in the heart of the racing community, which is right where I wanted to be. The opportunities to learn and grow seemed to be a perfect fit for me. I couldn't be happier with my decision.Activities on & off campus:
• Engineering & Technology Student Council (ETSC) - I am a Motorsports Representative
I continue to explore new and challenging options in the field of engineering.How has IUPUI/ your college experience impacted you?
I believe that my college experience has taught me many essential life lessons. College requires one to create and follow a course plan and, similarly, a life plan. Including staff and students, I'm very thankful to be surrounded by a group of dedicated and diverse people. My education is about more than engineering.How did you become interested in motorsports?
I have been racing since I was 11 years old. Before I was born, both of my parents raced, which lead to my interest. I started in a 250 micro sprint and worked my way up to a full sprint car. While I've also raced Midgets and a Formula 500, my passion is Sprint Car racing.Favorite personal motorsports memory:
My favorite personal motorsports memory would have to be my first win in a sprint car. I had raced a sprint car for a little over 2 years and while I had been close many times, a feature win remained out of my grasp. The night that I finally won a feature made it all worthwhile.
Perry blogs for National Speed Sport News. Check it out!
Major: Motorsports Engineering
How did you become interested in motorsports?
What brought you to IUPUI? Before coming to IUPUI, I enrolled at the Universal Technical Institute in southern California and then decided to go to a Race Car Service of America/Automotive Machinist School (RCS/AMS) in Pennsylvania. After about six months at RCS/AMS, I decided I wasn’t getting the education I was looking for to make it to the track and achieve my dreams. When I found out IUPUI was the first university in the nation to offer a motorsports engineering degree, I knew IUPUI was the place to be if I wanted to work in motorsports and that’s what brought me here.
My experience with the motorsports engineering program at IUPUI thus far has been excellent. The opportunities that I’ve been exposed to as a freshman have shown me that IUPUI has exactly what I’ve been looking for, hands-on experiences, knowledgeable staff with racing experience and the best motorsports program in the country.
How has IUPUI/your college experience impacted you?
How do you feel about IUPUI sponsoring IndyCar driver/owner Sarah Fisher? I think it’s great for our university to have a presence with IndyCar. Sarah Fisher relates to the students at IUPUI well, and it always impresses me when she shows up at our motorsports events like IUPUI’s Motorsports Day to meet with students and others to share her story and answer questions. They say motorsports is all about relationships, and to get into the industry it’s important that our university establishes a strong reputation in the racing world. It’s great to be associated with such a reputable driver. (Read More)
Past Students of The Month
During the 2009 racing season the Indy Racing League (IRL) had some IUPUI interns helping out on the track. One of those interns was Nick Hawes. We’ve interviewed Nick to learn more about his college career and internship experience with the IRL.Meet Nick Hawes
Nick Hawes is a senior mechanical engineering technology (MET) major from Grainger, Indiana. In addition to his MET degree, Hawes is also working towards a Motorsports Engineering Technology Certificate.Why did you choose to study at IUPUI?
I actually started my college career at Western Michigan University where I played football for two years. I got hurt and decided that wasn’t for me so I searched for something different. I came to Indianapolis and checked out IUPUI’s motorsports program and loved it.Why motorsports?
I remember going to Carburetion Day as a kid. Walking through the gates at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway was a feeling of pure exhilaration. I still get that feeling today and there’s nothing like it.At IUPUI I’m involved in:
Formula SAE team-
I found out about the opportunity to intern with the IRL through another student. As soon as I heard about the position I applied and then went through the interview process. Before I knew it we were getting started.Tell us about your internship with the IRL.
My internship experience was incredible. I was able to gain exposure to the motorsports industry and travel to various racetracks around the country. I even had the opportunity to travel to Japan for one of the races, and that was the first time I’d traveled internationally.
As an intern I helped set-up the time and scoring booth and assisted with race control. I learned quite a bit on the electrical side of things and was able to spend a lot of time at various tracks and learn more about them. Being able to go to the races and say that I helped set-up beforehand was awesome. Without timing and scoring there wouldn’t be a race so I felt like my role was important and kept myself busy running reports, checking up on things and making sure everything was going right.How did your internship benefit you?
Internships give you a real understanding of what you are going into. They allow you to see if you’re cut out to do the job or not and provide you with an opportunity to explore your interests.
Getting to network with the race teams and providers was incredibly beneficial for me. You often hear that motorsports is a family and you have to know people to get in. Being able to meet and talk to different people in the industry has been very rewarding and the connections I’ve made should help me down the road.How do you feel about IUPUI sponsoring IndyCar driver/owner Sarah Fisher?
The Sarah Fisher sponsorship is great for our program because it gives us exposure and puts the name of our program out there. I think it really shows our commitment to motorsports and I’m proud to be a part of a program that has made an investment in the racing world.What are your post-IUPUI plans?
My goal, of course, is to secure a job in motorsports. I’d love to stay in Indianapolis because there’s always something to do here and what better place to launch a career in motorsports than in the “racing capital of the world?”My advice for incoming students:
Be prepared to work hard. Sometimes you’ll have long hard days. But if you love what you’re doing you won’t mind it at all.