There have been a few occasions in my life where I have been truly and unexpectedly inspired. The other night during the annual Women In Technology (WIT) Connect event held at the Georgia Aquarium was one of them. Hundreds of Georgia’s leading technology executives and up-and-coming professionals gathered in the ballroom to network and participate in the live auction for their chance to win some one-on-one time with select top execs at the country’s leading companies.

Company after company came up and presented their auction packages…thus the bidding frenzy began. Halfway through the show they paused the program and four teenagers approached the platform. These four girls make up the F1-Shift Team, who competed and placed first in the United States National F1 in Schools Competition at the Michigan International Speedway this past May. They are now going on to compete in the World Championships in Abu Dhabi this October.

Now let me set the stage for you — we are in the Ocean’s Ballroom at the Georgia Aquarium. Among the audience are CEOs, CIOs, CTOs and several executives; in total the room is filled with at least 1,000 professionals. Their team manager approaches the podium and proceeds to charm us with her well-spoken, well-rehearsed speech, which garners a standing ovation from the aforementioned audience. I must admit, I was pretty impressed at how well the team, rising high school sophomores, presented themselves in a room full of such powerful people. This is certainly not something I could have done at their age!

This really got me thinking — F1 really is becoming much more popular stateside, starting with today’s youth. The F1 in Schools Ltd, a not-for-profit organization, was established to provide an educational experience throughout the F1 audience. F1 in Schools is the only global educational program raising awareness of F1 among students and school children.

Students aged 9-19 form teams to deploy CAD/CAM software to design, analyze, manufacture, produce then race gas-powered miniature balsa wood F1 cars. F1 in Schools is located in 34 countries, has 12 million student participants and organizes several worldwide competitions. Their main goal is to help change the perceptions of engineering, science and technology by creating a fun and exciting learning environment for students.

I hope that one day these girls follow their passion for technology into a company like Internap IT Infrastructure services or Sahara Force India where their drive for success and skills in technology can be used to power great companies into the future.

If you want to learn more about F1 or the Sahara Force India F1 Team check out their video at internap.josh.ux.voxel.net/driveit