School of Engineering and Technology students find work at 'The Racing Capital of the World'

Description of the following video:

[Video: The Pagoda at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. On the Pagoda, there is a large decal sign that reads 'This is Indy. This is May.' with the Indy 500 logo on it.]
[Video: A pit crew member rides on an IndyCar from one of the IMS garages. The car is blue and white. The pit crew member is wearing a blue-and-white shirt, a hat and sunglasses.]
[Sound: Sounds from the track, including people talking on the loudspeaker and IndyCar noises, can be heard.]

[Video: Empty stands and a view of the track at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.]
[Video: An IUPUI student is working on his laptop, pit side, by the track.]
[Video: An IUPUI student is helping move the front of an IndyCar in one of the IMS garages.]
[Video: An IUPUI student is writing on a clipboard, looking at IndyCar measurements, inside one of the IMS garages.]
[Video: Three IUPUI students stand together, wearing their headphones and IndyCar uniforms.]
[Video: David Russomanno, dean of the Purdue School of Engineering and Technology at IUPUI, appears on camera in front of the Pagoda at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.]

Russomanno speaks: May is always a great time of year, because we can see our students and our alumni in action on the track. If you look at the IndyCar teams, just about every one either has a student currently working as an intern or one of our alumni as part of the team.

[Video: The famous "Gasoline Alley" sign at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.]
[Video: Crowds in the stands at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. A large digital screen is at the top of the stands, showing a car racing on the track.]
[Video: A man working in the IMS garages is pushing tires to a new location.]
[Video: IUPUI student Owen Gilliland speaks on camera.]

Gilliland speaks: Every year, IndyCar likes to take three or four IUPUI students and put them in this program to give them some hands-on experience, in an actual motorsports setting.

[Video: The front of an IMS garage. The words "IndyCar Tech" appear above the garage. Several people are in front and inside of the garage working on an IndyCar.]

Gilliland speaks: When the cars come through inspection, we are looking to make sure that the parameters that IndyCar has specified in the rule book -- we are making sure that the teams have the cars within those parameters, in those measurements that we give them.

[Video: An IUPUI student and his supervisor are looking over measurements on a clipboard inside an IMS garage.]
[Video: Crew members start to move an IndyCar from an IMS garage.]

Gilliland speaks: So they are going to roll up on this pad. We are going to use a variety of tools to make sure that they are in the rules that are specified within the IndyCar rule book.

[Video: Crew members roll an IndyCar up onto a pad in an IMS garage. The back of the car is seen, then the front of the car is seen.]
[Video: A crew member is walking along the track. He has headphones on.]
[Video: An IndyCar crew team is working on an IndyCar while it is on the track. One crew member is holding a black-and-white umbrella above the driver, who is in the car, to shade him from the sun.]

Atkinson speaks: I'm learning because of our professors.
[Video: Two crew members are working on an IndyCar on the track. The car is blue and white. No one is in the car.]

Atkinson speaks: They were in the field and came to teach, so they know all this stuff.
[Video: IUPUI student Issac Atkinson speaks on camera.]

[Video: Extra tires for IndyCars, near the IMS track.]
[Video: A large Indy 500 sign, near the Pagoda.]
[Video: A man drives a cart in the garage area of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.]

Jakubec speaks: I walked in here, and I looked at my dad, and I said, "This is what I want to do for the rest of my life."

[Video: IUPUI student Amelia Jakubec speaks on camera.]
Jakubec speaks: Since this is the only place in the United States to do it, that is why I picked it.

[Video: Crowds sitting in the stands at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The Pagoda is in the background.]
[Video: An IUPUI student looks at the track from the pits at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.]
[Video: A crew member walks along the track at the IMS.]
[Video: Two crew members are working on an IndyCar that is on the track. The driver is in the car.]

Russomanno speaks: Experiential learning is really emphasized in all of our programs, but with motorsports engineering, you can really see the tangible example of how our students are really applying

[Video: David Russomanno, dean of the Purdue School of Engineering and Technology, appears on camera in front of the Pagoda at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.]

Russomanno speaks: theory to a very practical problem in terms of motorsports engineering.

[Video: The Pagoda at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. On the Pagoda, there is a large decal sign that reads 'This is Indy. This is May.' with the Indy 500 logo on it.]
[Video: The famous bricks that symbolize the finish line at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.]
[Video: The Indy 500 sign, near The Pagoda at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.]

Gilliland speaks: This is my first 500, and I'm working, so I'm really excited.

[Video: IUPUI student Owen Gilliland speaks on camera.]
Gilliland speaks: It's a great way to start my Indy 500 career.

[Sound: Sounds from the track, including people talking on the loudspeaker and IndyCar noises, can be heard.]

[Words appear: IUPUI]
[Words appear: Fulfilling the promise]
[Words appear: iu.edu]

[END OF TRANSCRIPT]
This month at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, several students from the Purdue School of Engineering and Technology at IUPUI are getting hands-on experience with race teams and the Verizon IndyCar Series.

The experience of walking into the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the first time can be exhilarating, if not overwhelming. The oval is 2.5 miles around, the grounds more than 500 acres.

It's a lot to take in, especially on the last Sunday in May.

But for Amelia Jakubec, that experience also provided clarity, an "a-ha" moment as she entered the IMS for the first time in 2016 on the morning of the 100th Indianapolis 500.

"I looked at my dad and said, 'This is what I want to do for the rest of my life,'" Jakubec said.

The Toledo, Ohio, native was just graduating high school and about to attend IUPUI. At that moment, she knew the Purdue School of Engineering and Technology's Motorsports Engineering program would be her career path. Getting back to IMS -- not as a fan, but on the inside -- was a goal.

A goal that only took her two years to reach. This May, the sophomore has been interning with the Verizon IndyCar Series technical inspection team, making sure that the cars vying to win the 500-mile race are properly prepared and racetrack-legal.

On a mid-May day leading up to qualifying for the 102nd Indianapolis 500, Jakubec was one of three Motorsports Engineering students working the inspection bays. Fellow sophomore Isaac Atkinson and junior Owen Gilliland were at opposite ends of the garage, checking wheelbases and wing measurements.

"It's like thousandths of an inch," Atkinson said of the measurements. "There's a lot of unknowns with the aero kits on cars right now; these wings have never been used before. So we have to come up with new numbers -- engineering stuff, I guess."

The students arrive at IMS with plenty of "engineering stuff," thanks to training from Motorsports Engineering faculty such as Andrew Borme and Chris Finch -- former IndyCar team engineers themselves.

From the top: Owen Gilliland, Amelia Jakubec and Isaac Atkinson, from left, are working for IndyCar technical inspection through Indianapolis 500 race day. IUPUI student Darren Brubaker is working for Ed Carpenter Racing, monitoring fuel levels and other data on Danica Patrick's No. 13 car. Once leaving technical inspection, IndyCars are free to hit the famed 2.5-mile oval.

Darren Brubaker, a senior with one more class to finish this summer for his degree, has been working for Ed Carpenter Racing for nearly a year. This month, he's wearing GoDaddy green while on the crew of the No. 13 car driven by Danica Patrick.

Among his responsibilities are tracking the car's fuel supply, which is a bit more complex than watching the "miles to E" readout on a passenger car.

"I use almost all of what I've done in school," said Brubaker, who raced as a teenager against current Indy 500 drivers Sage Karam and Spencer Pigot. "I'm really grateful for my instructors. They've been really helpful and have a lot of industry experience. They're both really good at not only getting the knowledge across, but also a lot of added knowledge that's very helpful when you get into the position.

"You listen to what they say in class, and you think it's going to be a little different, but then when I got onto the team and started actually interacting and seeing everything for myself, it was exactly everything they explained."

Race teams and the IndyCar Series have come to trust IUPUI students year after year. The offices at the School of Engineering and Technology get a call to send more talent all the time, and there is never a shortage of interested students.

"They're engineering students, so they understand what we're doing," said Kevin Blanch, IndyCar's technical director. "They understand the numbers and trying to think outside the box and figure out a problem on their own. They come here ready.

"And the teams need young people. The sport is relying on young people, because it's a lot of work."

The payoff, of course, is race days. At the Indy 500, that means more than 250,000 people on-site and millions more on television and radio bearing witness to your work.

"The beautiful thing about it is," said School of Engineering and Technology Dean David Russomanno, "we have so many IUPUI students or alumni on the various IndyCar teams, we're almost guaranteed a winner."

The image caption followsView print quality image
One of IUPUI student Amelia Jakubec's jobs in the IndyCar tech inspection area is to measure the amount of space under the front wing of the race car. Liz Kaye/IU Communications
The image caption followsView print quality image
IUPUI student Isaac Atkinson looks over data with IndyCar technical director Kevin Blanch in the tech inspection area on a morning before Indianapolis 500 practice. Liz Kaye/IU Communications
The image caption followsView print quality image
Every Indy car is required to go through technical inspection before getting on the race track. IUPUI students Owen Gilliland (back left in sunglasses) and Amelia Jakubec (front right) are on the crew taking measurements and ensuring the cars meet required standards. Liz Kaye/IU Communications