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Cam Nealy graduated from University High School in 2016. After high school, he graduated from IUPUI with a degree in Anthropology. He is currently pursuing a master’s degree in geology at IUPUI and working in the Paleoclimate and Sedimentology Laboratory. Now in his final semester of research, Cam returned to UHS to co-teach the World of Auto Racing J-Term class alongside his mom, Communications Coordinator Nila Nealy, and Spanish Instructor Mercedes Muñiz-Peredo. As a life-long auto racing enthusiast, Cam had plenty of knowledge to share with students and presented on several topics, including the Indianapolis 500, IndyCar Championship, the role technology has played in the accessibility of the sport, and more! Cam also accompanied the class on their trip to Daytona, FL to attend the Rolex 24. 

What have you been up to since leaving UHS?

I graduated from IUPUI in 2019 with a degree in anthropology. During my senior year of college, I joined the Paleoclimate and Sedimentology Laboratory (PSL) at IUPUI where we conduct collaborative research that investigates the role of past climate in the rise and fall of the Mississippian culture roughly 1,000 years ago. Following my undergraduate studies, I started working towards a Master of Science degree in geology at IUPUI with the same lab group. I’m currently in my final semester of research. 

Why did you choose to return to University to assist with a J-Term class?

While I continue to be based in Indianapolis for graduate school, my mom [Communications Coordinator Nila Nealy] proposed that we take advantage of the opportunity and co-teach a J-Term course on a topic that is synonymous with religion in our household: motorsports. Given where we live, it was surprising to realize that a dedicated auto racing J-Term had not been offered before, so it only seemed natural that we spend some time investigating the topic from all angles. Racing is the only sport that I watch week in and week out, and I’ve been to 18 consecutive Indianapolis 500s (and most other major events at IMS during that period). What I lack in teaching experience is balanced by a familiarity of the subject matter and the support and passion that [J-Term co-teachers] Sra. [Mercedes] Peredo and my mom provide. 

What is your best University J-Term memory from when you were a student? 

There are so many great memories from J-Term, but I can credit my meandering post-UHS career to one in particular. In 2015, I took the Gorillas in the Mist: Mountain Gorillas in Rwanda J-Term class with Chris and Carolyn Bradley and Taylor Newell. The trip to Rwanda where we hiked along a forested volcanic mountain range and witnessed mountain gorillas in the wild set me on my quest to study primate behavior. Of course, now I study lake sediment…but there actually is a logical connection if you have the time to listen. 

What has been your favorite part of helping with J-Term? 

My favorite part of helping with the Auto Racing J-Term has been the excited interest from all the students involved. I’ve honestly never had such rewarding discussions about racing before, and it’s our group that makes it great. Having a captive audience listen to my ramblings about IndyCar has been a lot of fun, but I think the students would agree that most of all we’re looking forward to attending the Rolex 24 [race] at Daytona. Hopefully I can stay awake for all 24 hours!