Monday, February 20, 2012

Lauren Perkins, a senior broadcast major at Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications, shoots at Langley speedway during the NASCAR Drive for Diversity Combine.  Perkins’ work was part of a Voice Of America package that aired in January.   

 Scripps Howard’s Center for Broadcast Excellence team members shoot sit-down interviews with NASCAR Drive for Diversity participants after their workout in the student center gym. 

Sport management students promote NASCAR's Revolution Race Team on campus during HU's homecoming.

HU Wins NASCAR’s Educational Institution Of The Year Award

Hampton University was chosen as the educational institution of the year for the NASCAR Diversity initiative. The Health Physical Education and Recreation Department (HPER) and the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications worked together last year in an effort that produced the Eighth Annual NASCAR Drive for Diversity Combine.

HPER Assistant Professor Dr. Ralph Charlton will accept the award in Daytona, Fla. Feb. 22. The award states as its criteria, “a college/university that attracts and trains diverse students for relevant careers in the motorsports industry with a recognized and relevant curriculum,” according to

“Our involvement with NASCAR was initiated by a sport management alumnae, Arionne Allen, who currently works with NASCAR's Drive for Diversity program, and we were able to involve both the sport management program and Scripps Howard,” Charlton said. “HPER sport management students developed and implemented an integrated marketing strategy on campus for the top minority drivers on NASCAR’s Revolution Racing Team while also meeting with the Teams' Directors during on track testing, to discuss marketing and internship opportunities and the Drive for Diversity program. It is a true testament to the success of our alumni, creativity and hard work of current students and interdisciplinary collaboration.”

At the event, Oct. 18-20, 2011, 45 Scripps Howard journalism students went to the student center gym and Langley Raceway and acted as “track-side” reporters by conducting pre and post-race interviews of the drivers. Students, under the supervision of professors William “Chris” Leonard, Van Dora Williams and Reggie Mitchell, held a mock news conference in the Scripps Howard School’s TV studio.  Student journalists asked rapid-fire questions of the combine drivers during the conference. Students also produced radio stories about the NASCAR activities which aired on WHOV 88.1, HU's radio station, throughout the week.

Jerry Brown, executive producer/director with Voice of America (VOA), in partnership with the Scripps Howard School coached journalism majors Asia Poteat and Lauren Perkins to produce a 3-minute television and radio sport packages on the events. The student-produced package aired on VOA’s global program “In Focus,” January 2012.

“I am thrilled that we played a major role in actualizing such an initiative,” said Leonard. “Moreover, to know that our efforts resulted in Hampton University receiving NASCAR's highest diversity award of the year [for a educational institution] makes everyone, who's a part of the Scripps Howard family proud, determined and committed to our mission of excellence.”

Drive for Diversity is the industry’s leading development program for minority and female drivers and crewmembers. The program has seen continuous growth since its inception in 2004. Drive for Diversity drivers compete in nearly 200 events at NASCAR Home Tracks across the country each year.

Leha Byrd 

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