DePaul University Newsline > Sections > Chicago Connections > DePaul grad named to NASCAR’s Diversity Internship Program

DePaul grad named to NASCAR’s Diversity Internship Program

Angelina Davila works with the organization’s communications office

​​A devoted baseball fan from the Southwest side of Chicago, it didn’t take long for Angelina Davila to fall in love with motorsports after beginning a summer internship with NASCAR in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Davila, a recent DePaul graduate, is one of 37 young people from around the U.S. selected for the 22nd class of the NASCAR Diversity Internship Program. She’s also the only intern from Illinois and one of just a few selected from Midwestern universities.

“Being part of NASCAR means you’ll eventually become not just a fan, but part of a family — something that I notice is valued in this organization. I came in not knowing a ton about the sport, but was excited to learn. Now? I start my mornings reading up on the latest news in motorsports — and not because I have to,” Davila says.

Davila, who earned a bachelor’s degree in English from DePaul, works with the organization’s communications office. This weekend, NASCAR heads to Chicago for the Grant Park 200, a 100-lap, 220-mile street race that’s a first in the organization’s storied history. With the race as the backdrop, Davila shared what made her want to join the NASCAR team.

What drew your attention to this internship with NASCAR?
When I first saw that NASCAR had an internship opportunity specifically for diverse individuals, I knew that it was something I had to try, even though I thought my chances of landing it were slim. Professional sports is an extremely competitive field to break into, but I was excited there was a sports organization making a meaningful effort to provide equal opportunities for people from marginalized communities. It was just a matter of who was going to give a Latina from the South Side of Chicago a chance.

What’s it been like to dive headfirst into a sport you didn’t follow growing up? 
Upon arrival, you learn quickly about popular names in the sport like Chase Elliot, Kyle Larson and Tyler Reddick, as well as legendary names like Dale Earnhardt Sr. and Richard Petty. However, NASCAR has gone above and beyond by taking us to the races, like the Coca Cola 600, giving us access to the pits, and having opportunities to meet drivers and ask questions. This kind of experience is how many people grow to love a sport. It’s like when your dad takes you to a ball game one weekend, and then it becomes every other weekend, until eventually, you’re finding yourself wanting to be part of the game. That’s how my experience has been here. As my time extends in the company, so does my knowledge and passion for motorsports.
How has the experience helped your career development thus far?
I have been assisting in media research for potential media opportunities as well as writing actual media pitches. The cool thing is that we are all hands on deck here at NASCAR, so I am always busy. For instance, I help with communications tasks in various departments such as Gaming and Esports or Diversity and Inclusion. I also find myself networking any chance that I get. Further, the internship has us competing in a case study where interns collaborate on a business project that will have real-world implications. This is super exciting because it means we can actually have our ideas shared on a larger scale.

How did DePaul prepare you for this type of experience?
If it were not for the dedicated academic advisors and those at the career center who helped me with my resume and cover letter, I would not be where I am today. DePaul also provided me with opportunities to succeed in this field thanks to 14 East Magazine and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists DePaul Chapter. I have seen so many colleagues and peers graduate and pursue their passions successfully because of this great institution and to see my own dreams come to fruition is truly a dream.

What are your thoughts about NASCAR coming to the streets of Chicago?
While I unfortunately won’t be able to attend the race myself, I’m beyond excited for Chicago folks to learn what I’ve learned in such a short time — NASCAR is for everyone and, honestly, a blast to experience live. I think everyone who spends time around the course at any point this weekend will thoroughly enjoy themselves.

Russell Dorn is a manager of news and integrated content in University Communications.