JACKSON TWP. Julia Landauer, a 27-year-old NASCAR champion, gave a winning talk as the first speaker for the 29th year of the Kent State at Stark's Featured Speakers Series.
Landauer spoke on Oct. 1 at the KSU conference center with an agenda to encourage others to go after their dreams no matter what roadblocks get in their way. She encourages women’s empowerment and is an advocate for STEM education.
The NASCAR racer has set records both on the track and off. She is a two-time champion and has become the highest finishing female in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series' 64-year history. Landauer’s courage does not only show on the track but also as a contestant on the 26th season of the CBS TV reality series “SURVIVOR”.
The 2014 Stanford University graduate was named to Forbes Magazine’s top 30 under 30 list for sports in 2017.
Landauer encouraged those in the audience, especially, the younger students present from North Canton’s Middle School STEM class, to go after their dreams.
“If you can dream it, you can do it,” she said.
Landauer dreamed of racing from a young age as she spent much of her youth racing go-karts. It was something they did as a family and she loved speeding around the track. When she began racing cars, she felt the undertones of the men not wanting to be beaten by a “girl” in some situations. However, she has found when she does get the respect, it is very loyal.
She also realized early on that to race and live her dream she needed a basic knowledge of technology and Landauer, a New York City student, made her way across the country after high school graduation to attend Stanford and major in Science, Technology and Society. She began her speaking career while in college with a TEDx talk. She speaks for universities, corporations and conferences which includes Fortune’s Most Powerful Women.
Through her racing, Landauer has been able to be a strong advocate for STEM education. She also serves as an external advisor to Hyundai Motor Corporation’s Center for Robotic-Augmented Design in Living Experience. Her science education is a big part of understanding the race industry. She also collaborates with Spotify, Disney, The Abingdon Company and the One Love Foundation. She collaborated with Disney doing an inspirational video promoting the movie “Cars 3”.
She spoke about the advances in safety in racing and how a STEM education is used in racing – understanding the car, the science of the slant of the track and how to maneuver the car through the curves and angles of the track. STEM is used in racing but is also used in many careers from cooking to fashion she told the audience.
One of the things Landauer encouraged the audience to do is stick with a problem until it is solved. She said work with your fears.
“Fear and excitement are closely related.” Landauer said, “Jump in and make it work.”
She talked about the fact visualization does work. Basketball players who visualize making baskets in their mind find when they get on the court it has helped in their shots at the basket.
“Make allies and build relationships, you never known when a relationship you make can help you down the road,” she said.
Landauer was asked how she liked being on "Survior" and she responded that it was hard; she was happy she did it; but it was miserable.
She was also asked what her most frightening experience has been. Surprisingly, it was not a driving experience but while skiing in Europe. She said she and her dad skied down the mountain that was featured in a James Bond movie where they had just about eight feet to ski down with cliff drop offs on both sides. One wrong move and they would be off the cliff.
Coming up next in the speaker’s series, March 10, is singer-songwriter, philanthropist and actor Bryan Terrell Clark. He starred as George Washington in the hit “Hamilton: An American Musical” on Broadway. He has been on “Empire,” “CSI: NY” and “Blue Bloods." For more information visit www.kent.edu/stark/featured-speakers-series.
The programs are free, but tickets are needed and will be available beginning Feb. 17 at the Main hall information desk beginning at 7:30 a.m. on the release date. Tickets will remain available while supplies last during regular business hours Monday through Thursday 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.