Mary Barra, senior vice president for Global Product Development at General Motors, was conferred Wednesday by the Society of Automotive Engineering Foundation with the 2013 Industry Leadership Award. This makes Barra the first woman recipient of the award in its 25 years of history.
The award comes as Barra disclosed that the carmaker would donate the first production 2014 Cadillac CTS Vsport -- including a performance driving school package -- to the SAE Foundation.
The CTS Vsport, the first Cadillac to feature an eight-speed automatic transmission, is underpinned by the high-performance ATS architecture and is powered by a Twin-Turbo V-6 engine. Barrett-Jackson will hold a live auction later this year, with proceeds going to the SAE Foundation for its science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) student outreach programs.
According to Barra, the foundation’s STEM programs are vital to ensuring the ignition of young student’s passion for math and science, noting that they will be the “future leaders of the auto industry.”
Barra related that at a recent SAE project, she was gratified to see students having “so much fun” applying key principles of math and science. She said that it is only fitting to support SAE’s programs by donating a vehicle that embodies what is possible “when ingenuity meets engineering excellence.”
GM has been a sponsor of SAE Foundation’s STEM outreach programs. Aside from providing financial support from the GM Foundation, GM also provides over 1,500 mentors and volunteers to help reach around 85,000 students participating in SAE’s World in Motion K-12 programs. John Calabrese, GM vice president, Global Vehicle Engineering, remarked SAE’s programs show young people that math and science is a viable career choice.