Winding up Hispanic Heritage Month, Latino Traffic Report has learned that Alba Colón Chevrolet Racing program manager, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series received the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) Award, sponsored by ExxonMobil the at the Thirtieth Hispanic Heritage Awards presented by the Hispanic Heritage Foundation (HHF), September 14 at the historic Warner Theatre in Washington, D.C. The show was also televised on PBS, October 6.
Created by the White House in 1987 to commemorate the establishment of Hispanic Heritage Month in America and supported by 40 national Hispanic-serving institutions that co-host the program, The Awards are among the highest honors by Latinos for Latinos.
“I am very proud of my heritage and I would not have wanted to journey through this life any other way,” commented Colón during her acceptance speech. “By working together and celebrating the beauty of our heritage and who we are … we can change the world.”
A Spanish native, Colon grew up in Puerto Rico where she moved with her family at the age of three. It was an interest in space, not cars that led her to pursue a mechanical engineering degree at the University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez Campus. She worked at Sterling Pharmaceuticals in Puerto Rico after college but left to work on the Formula SAE program, where she, as team captain, built race cars from the ground up, exhibiting them at events held at the Silverdome in Pontiac, MI. GM hired her after three years of competing in the Formula SAE program, and in 2001, named her Chevrolet Racing’s Program Manager for NASCAR Cup racing. She’s one of the most powerful women in the sport and the only top female engineer in the sport of NASCAR racing.
“As a Latina in a traditionally underrepresented field, Alba Colón is a transformative role-model for our community,” said José Antonio Tijerino, president and CEO of the HHF. “The Hispanic Heritage Foundation is privileged to honor her with the STEM Award on an evening which will be entertaining, meaningful and inspirational as we present America with the great value Latinos provide. It’s more important than ever to showcase visionary Latinos like Alba and the other Honorees.”
The Awards recognize the contributions and accomplishments of leading Latino individuals and organizations in various fields while celebrating cultural pride and the great promise to America. Additional honorees this year included:
The DREAMERS – Inspira Award, sponsored by American Federation of Teachers (AFT)
Luis Fonsi– Special Trailblazer Award, sponsored by TARGET
Gael García Bernal – Vision Award, sponsored by The Walt Disney Company
Rudy Beserra – Leadership Award, sponsored by The Coca Cola Company
The Latin Recording Academy – Arts Award, sponsored by Southwest Airlines, the Official Airlines
Alba Colón: STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) Award, sponsored by ExxonMobil
The Hispanic Heritage Awards are unique in that educators, physicians, innovators, businesspersons, community leaders, and elected officials stand alongside celebrities and great artists in representing the great value Latinos provide the United States and the globe. They serve as a launch of HHF’s year-round, award-winning programs that inspire, prepare, and connect Latino leaders in the classroom, community and workforce to meet America’s needs in priority fields.