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Aurora Straus Defers Harvard Admission to Become America’s Only Professional Female Teenage Race Car Driver

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Pursuing your dreams is an important part of being young, and it takes a lot of bravery to step back and make those big decisions for yourself. 19-year-old professional race car driver Aurora Straus has decided to put her admission to Harvard on hold while she dedicates the next year of her life to racing full-time as the only professional female teenage race car driver in the United States.

“Racing is a full-time job,” said Straus. “I knew that I had developed momentum in my career, and that the opportunity to keep moving forward with it would pass by if I didn’t take just one year off of school.”

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Straus first took a spin around the track when she was 13 years old, before she even had a street-legal driver’s license. She attributed to the experience to the beginning of her racing career: “Going over 100 miles an hour is like the most remarkable feeling,” she said. “Once you do it, you fall down a rabbit hole and you’re doing that for the rest of your life.” Straus began racing professionally when she was 16.

When asked by Good Morning America‘s Robin Roberts about her experience as a female in the industry, Straus pointed to several leadfoot ladies that paved the way before her, including Danica Patrick. Moments later, the GMA hosts had a special surprise for Straus. “I just wanted to wish you the best of luck,” Danica Patrick told Straus in a video message played on the air. “Don’t forget to dream really, really, really big.”

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Immediately, a smile took over Straus’ face and she began to glow. Hearing from one of her inspirations, Straus reflected on why she started in Motorsports. “10 or 20 years from now, I want to be that Danica to a young girl that doesn’t know if she can make it in the industry.”

In the future, Straus plans to study English Literature and Mechanical Engineering at Harvard University.

Sources: ABC News, Daily Mail, New York Post