On The Right Track: Legal Studies Graduate Interns at NASCAR
Alex Alvarado was originally on the fast track to go to law school, until he reached a crossroads.
“I worked at a law firm my freshman year and I hated it,” he said. “There was a lot of sitting down and that’s not me. I like to engage with people and walk around.”
So, Alvarado, a spring 2017 legal studies graduate of UCF, took a detour leading him to several internships, including his most recent one – a summer internship with the NASCAR Diversity Internship Program in Daytona Beach.
The NASCAR Diversity Internship Program is a 10-week, paid internship that exposes multicultural undergraduate and graduate students to employment opportunities within the motorsports industry, said Dawn Harris, senior director of multicultural development.
“NASCAR Diversity Interns receive hands-on work experience, professional development training and exclusive networking opportunities,” Harris said. “Many participants secure full-time employment upon completion of the program.”
Alvarado, who had previously interned at fellowships in Washington D.C. and a lobbying firm in Tallahassee, said that this internship was a step outside of his comfort zone.
“Coming in here, I was expecting more lobbying stuff, but what I really did was working more with the public affairs aspects,” he said. “And that was really cool to do that.”
It was also a cultural experience for Alvarado, who hadn’t paid much attention to NASCAR.
“When you watch it on TV, you think it’s just a bunch of people turning left [on a track],” Alvarado said. “All the things that go on behind the scenes that you wouldn’t think about is incredible. They do a really good job with this internship program, bringing a lot of different cultures and backgrounds.”
The internship not only exposes multicultural students to the world of racing cars, but also shows them the vast opportunities their studies can take them.
“Alex’s studies at UCF … combined with his prior work experiences in two different congressional offices and a lobbying firm, aligned well with that we were looking for in an intern,” said Jordan Jiloty, director of public and government affairs for NASCAR.
Alvarado, who will start a new job in Tallahassee with a political consulting firm, has learned more about NASCAR, his own personal interests and the wide scope of jobs open with his degree in legal studies.
“It’s ok to step out of my comfort zone,” he said. “It’s pretty much just lined me up for jumping into that which I’m going to do now.”
Written by Drexler B. James ‘13