Meet Nascar’s First Female Engineer Of Color, Alba Colon


No one watches a NASCAR race expecting to see women on the track, right? Well think again, because thanks to one trailblazing woman, Alba Colon, that could soon change.

Alba is the first female engineer of color in the well-loved American sport and works for Team Chevrolet. This Puerto Rican badass graduated from the University of Puerto Rico with a degree in mechanical engineering, and has worked her way up the ranks of the very male-dominated industry of racing to earn the spot she has today in Nascar.

In an interview with Black Enterprise recently, celebrating women’s history month, Alba spoke about her career, why it has significance to all women, and how her position can have a greater impact on the racing industry in America.

She says when she started out it was very different to what it’s like today because there were certainly no female engineers or females in the sport in general. There was some sexism, where men would ask her what she was doing at the track, and whether she was someone’s girlfriend, but the respect she earned along the way soon changed the attitudes around her.

“At first it was difficult because people had to get used to the idea of working with a female. But now I know the guys, and I’m just one more person on the team. They know what I’m going to bring to the team… to make the cars better … faster …to have them engineered properly. They respect what I do, and we’re here to work together. They know that I mean business. But that took time.”


Alba confesses it was a seemingly misogynistic encounter with Nascar legend Dale Earnhardt Sr., which became her motivating factor to keep going.

“He told me [in my] first week: ‘You’re not gonna make it. I don’t give you more than a year.’…That made me really mad. Inside of me, I said, ‘I’m going to show you who I am.’ It was that fire … when somebody tells me I can’t do something. … I learned through the years that if Dale likes you, he will back you … and he likes to push people. He [motivated me to do my best], and I really appreciate that he did that. Years later he told me, ‘I knew you would make it.’ So every time someone says, ‘No you can’t … No you can’t …” for me it’s a way of pushing me to [show and prove.]”

She goes on to talk about the importance of her education, and finding established mentors in the industry who took her under their wing and showed her the ropes. Alba is also an ambassador for Each One Teach One which is a program designed to help under-privileged kids reach academic success through tutoring and mentoring.

While college may not be the right path for everyone’s future, Alba says if you plan on being an engineer of any sort, it’s a must. Being educated not only gave her the right tools to work in the industry, but it also gave her the respect she needed from the men who were able to see how serious she was about her career.


“I really believe that with whatever you want in life, you have to have patience and work hard at it. A lot of [those in today’s generation] want quick satisfaction, but you really have to work hard at the things you want. It’s not easy, but you can’t give up. It’s not easy, but keep going.”

We love highlighting pioneer women who have fought against the odds to be a success in their chosen field. Why is this important to us and for our readers? Because women like Alba have opened the gate and have made it just a little bit more possible for future generations of female Nascar engineers to work on the track.

And for those young girls who haven’t yet decided what they would like to do with their futures, showcasing women in industries which are largely male-dominated only serves to show them more examples of what is possible if you keep persisting.

Engineering another dream season? Dear Chevrolet, you have just single-handedly engineered another dream. Period!



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