When algebra can get you places

We all know the stars of the show are our drivers, but it’s a wee German lass who has become the most in demand at the Red Bull Holden Racing Team lately – and she’s not a driver.

Romy Mayer is our data engineer extraordinaire for car #1 and is basically a walking example that you can be a maths nerd and still be cool.

Making her way visiting universities and schools all over Australia, Romy has been preaching the message that algebra is actually very useful post-school and it can get you places, in fact really cool places (like Winton Raceway in winter…).

Her most recent trip? A whirlwind dash to Newcastle to join Erebus’s David Reynolds and over 100 students at Whitebridge High.

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Aside from showing up Reynolds, Romy gave students a glimpse into how building skills in science, technology, engineering and maths could lead them into a career in motorsports.

The students were launching their annual competition to draw a supercar, which helps them use more than just written and verbal communication to share information, putting drawing into the context of engineering to provide real world application for their skills.

Timely, considering we’re heading into the second half of the school year where heads are dropping and teachers are pining for anything to win the attention of their students. Cue Romy.

“It’s really important for students to contribute to these kinds of projects so they can work out what they like and what they don’t like,” said Romy.

Growing up in Germany, Romy had hardly ever been to a race track or watched motorsports and only fell into her career after excelling in maths and physics at school – her knowledge of which she was able to impart on to the students.

“I also encourage them to reach out to people in the job to see how it really is,” continued Romy.

“Engineering is such a big field and when I was young I thought it was all about dirty hands, big machines and men everywhere, but it’s not. Girls need to know about the opportunities to build replacements for bones, design interesting houses, save the environment.

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“You see the world with a whole different eye.”

If you’d come across Romy in a small German town several years ago, the last thing you’d think she would be doing was telling seven-time Supercars champion Jamie Whincup how his numbers are looking.

So, children of the world, listen to your parents and do your homework – algebra can get you places.