Shine On

Rosalee Ramer: Inspiring teen girl a professional monster truck driver and math genius

Rosalee's interest in trucks and mechanics started when she was just 3. (Facebook)Rosalee's interest in trucks and mechanics started when she was just 3. (Facebook)California teen Rosalee Ramer might love typical "girly" activities, like doing her nails, but that's just one part of her multifaceted personality.

The 16-year-old Watsonville, Calif. native is America's youngest female professional monster truck driver.

"I'm amazed by how many people I meet who can't wrap their head around what I do," Rosalee tells the San Francisco Gate. "I get judged a lot. They think monster truck driving is brainless...that we just want to go out and smash things up. But there's a lot of planning and thinking that goes into it."

She started competing professionally about two years ago, and has so far entered 24 shows.

“Being in a truck with 1,600 horsepower is unlike anything else that you’ll ever experience,” she tells ABC. “And getting to step on the throttle is really amazing.”

Yet driving monster trucks isn't Rosalee's only unusual talent.

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The straight-A student received a near-perfect SAT math score last month, putting her among the nation's 99th percentile.

So far, she has her sights set on studying mechatronics -- the study of mechanical engineering and electronics -- at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

No one else in her family has attended university, but Rosalee's father insists he will make it happen for her.

"I just want to make sure she gets to her classes safe at night," says Kelvin Ramer, who runs his own tow truck company.

The proud dad recalls how his daughter showed an affection for cars and mechanics from a very young age.

“If it had a steering wheel and she could get in it, she would,” Kelvin says.

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At the age of three, Rosalee started learning how to build engines from her father, who spent hundreds of hours under the hood of a car.

"It's kind of fun now to watch her come home from computer programming classes and explain what happens and why it happens," Kelvin says. "And I'll show her how I did it and survived without an engineering degree."

Rosalee is now attempting to design the first electronic fuel injection system for a monster truck.

Incidentally, she may also be the youngest American certified to clear a semi-truck from a freeway during rush hour -- something she learned to help out her father's business.

In the mean time, Rosalee doesn't seem to be bothered too much by the negative talk about her age and gender at monster truck competitions.

"You can tell when they don't want 'the little girl' to beat them out, so they try going for something they wouldn't normally do," she explains. "And then they crash or break a wheel off."