Career Moves: Racing fan lands motorsports internship
Ashley Bunting is building a résumé with ties to NASCAR, which is both a passion and career calling for the Elon University junior.
Growing up in North Carolina, Ashley Bunting was familiar with the influence of NASCAR racing. "Familiar," in fact, may be an understatement. The native of Summerfield, N.C., considers herself a longtime loyal race fan.
But as Bunting sought an internship with NASCAR last year, she stumbled upon another opportunity that was perfect fit with her career aspirations in the marketing profession: Petty's Garage LLC, a custom vehicle business in North Carolina owned by racing legend Richard Petty.
Bunting is the latest person to be featured this year in a series of E-net profiles on the recent experiences of students and alumni who use the Student Professional Development Center to not only find job and internship openings, but to prepare for interviews and improve applications with guidance from Career Services staff.
She answered questions recently from the Office of University Communications.
Tell me about the company and your role as an intern.
Petty's Garage is a non-racing Petty facility. Richard Petty's Custom Hot Rod Shop allows customers to have their high-quality performance vehicles built by Petty's legendary race staff. This company can be compared to West Coast Customs. Anyone, no matter the make or model of their vehicle, can start a project at Petty's Garage.
At Petty's Garage, I fulfilled the role of marketing intern. In our marketing efforts, I used my computer skills to revamp and reconstruct presentations and build a social media presence online. I also interviewed customers to be featured in the Petty's Garage monthly newsletter, for which I also wrote articles.
How did your interest in the internship and profession develop?
I have always been a passionate NASCAR and Richard Petty fan. The business of NASCAR is unique because of the relationships between sponsors, drivers, race teams and fans. No other professional sport operates like NASCAR, and that is what initially attracted me to the industry.
I was pursuing an internship in NASCAR when I came across the opportunity to work at Petty's Garage in Randleman, N.C. I was drawn to this position because it offered the chance for me to learn more about the performance vehicle market and the chance to work with the King of NASCAR, Richard Petty.
What did you learn from the experience?
Throughout my internship, I was able to learn how important teamwork really is. I loved working with the employees at Petty's Garage; they welcomed me into the team as if I had been a part of the company for years. I also surprised myself with my ability to write professionally. I was able to re-write sections for the Petty's Garage website, as well as ads for magazines.
Who did you work with in the Student Professional Development Center to prepare for your internship and what help did you receive?
Prior to my internship, I worked with Jane Mehringer on interviewing tips and ways to spruce up my résumé. Throughout the internship I worked with Jan Pagoria (my internship instructor). Both Jane and Jan were great resources to me and never failed to email me back when I had a question. These ladies checked up on me throughout the summer because they genuinely cared to hear about my internship experience.
How do you plan on using the SPDC and Office of Career Services in the future?
I definitely plan to keep in touch with both Jane and Jan. I know they will be great resources as I begin to explore my internship options for Summer 2013.
What recommendations would you share with other students about career services?
I would recommend other students to set up an appointment with someone in the career services to simply talk. Career services can help students with their résumés, provide them with networking connections, or even conduct mock interviews.
Before this summer, I had never reached out to career services at Elon. I am glad I did because I have developed relationships with professionals who want to help me throughout my Elon career and beyond.
Which faculty members did you work with to prepare for your internship/employment and what help did you receive?
I worked closely with my Business Communications professor, Dr. Cindy Conn. Dr. Conn was with me throughout the whole process. Not only was she a phenomenal resource, but also the concepts I learned in her class were very applicable on a day-to-day basis at Petty's Garage.
Prior to my internship, Dr. Conn held mock interviews with me in her office. I think she really made a difference in preparing me for an internship. Dr. Conn has provided some of the best mentoring I have ever received at Elon University. I definitely would not be where I am today without her guidance. I still keep in touch with her.