Clemson University’s first Motorsports Innovation Partner, the Dale Earnhardt Foundation, has announced the winner of its annual undergraduate scholarship — Michelle Phillips of Ellisville, MO, a rising junior majoring in mechanical engineering. She is the first woman to receive the scholarship, which was founded in Dale Earnhardt’s honor.
Phillips will receive the Dale Earnhardt Motorsports Scholarship at a 4 p.m. announcement on Saturday, May 23, at Lowe’s Motor Speedway during the Coca-Cola 600 weekend.
“We are honored to be able to award this scholarship to a deserving student each year and help them pursue their education and career in motorsports engineering,” said Teresa Earnhardt, CEO of Dale Earnhardt, Inc. “To be able to recognize a young woman who is excelling in this field is even more special to me. We are proud of her accomplishments and look forward to her representing the Dale Earnhardt Foundation as our Clemson Motorsports Scholar. And, we hope to see Michelle in NASCAR in the coming years.”
Phillips has always been a fan of racing, and found a way to unite her love of the sport with her passion for engineering.
"I was bitten with the racing bug with the first race I ever saw on television, and I am excited to be selected for the Dale Earnhardt Foundation scholarship,” Phillips said. “This is a great opportunity to pursue the field that I love. I'd like to thank the Dale Earnhardt Foundation and Clemson University for this chance.”
Phillips is active on the Clemson Formula SAE team having served as purchasing and logistics manager, head of crash structure design and testing and lead manufacturing assistant. Next year she steps up to team leader. “People ask me all the time about being in a male-dominated sport and I tell them I work with great people every day. I also love the fast pace and hands on side of things. An added bonus is I can fix my own car,” said Phillips.
The Dale Earnhardt Foundation funds the annual undergraduate scholarship in honor of Dale Earnhardt for students interested in motorsports and automotive engineering. The Dale Earnhardt Foundation provides a three-year undergraduate scholarship for a student in Clemson’s College of Engineering and Science.
Don Beasley, chair of Clemson’s mechanical engineering department, said the Dale Earnhardt Foundation partnership offers students a rare entrée into the motorsports industry. “The Dale Earnhardt Foundation displays its commitment to excellence year after year,” he said. “We are grateful for their support to our students who have a passion for this field. Michelle is very deserving with her leadership on the Clemson Formula SAE team, her outstanding grades and her winning attitude.”
Dale Earnhardt, Inc. Chief Executive Officer Teresa Earnhardt and Clemson University President James F. Barker signed a memorandum of understanding in 2007 to create a formal research and higher education partnership.
Dale Earnhardt, Inc. has a nearly 30-year history as a racing organization, founded by one of the most storied individuals in the sport. It is committed to keeping this legacy alive and to building Dale Earnhardt, Inc. as a leader in the motorsports industry, an innovator in the automotive and transportation business and champion in philanthropic outreach.
The Dale Earnhardt Foundation’s mission is to “Continue the Legend” through charitable programs and grants that sustain Earnhardt’s lifelong commitment to Children, Education and Wildlife Preservation. Through the legacy of Dale Earnhardt, the Foundation has been able to help thousands of people in need, give college students and future leaders a chance to pursue their dreams and improve the environment through conservation efforts.
Clemson is recognized as a leader in motorsports and automotive engineering education. Its undergraduate program in mechanical engineering offers students real-world experience through a competitive curriculum augmented by a cooperative education and internship program. Students also can compete in two automotive design competitions: SAE Mini-Baja and Formula SAE through the Society of Automotive Engineers. The Carroll A. Campbell Jr. Graduate Engineering Center at the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR) campus in Greenville offers master’s and doctoral degree programs in automotive engineering and has unique research and testing resources.
CU-ICAR is a new model for economic development in South Carolina, matching Clemson’s strengths in automotive engineering with the state’s strong automotive economic cluster. Located in the heart of the Interstate 85 corridor midway between Charlotte, N.C., and Atlanta, Ga., CU-ICAR is ideally situated in the Southeastern automotive and motorsports economy.
For more information, contact Susan Polowczuk, (864) 656-2063.