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An Overview and Preliminary Assessment of a Summer Transportation Engineering Education Program (STEEP) for Ninth Graders

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

June 29, 2016





Conference Session

Notable Topics in Civil Engineering Education

Tagged Division

Civil Engineering

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Paper Authors


Shashi S. Nambisan P.E. University of Tennessee - Knoxville

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Shashi Nambisan is a Professor of Civil Engineering at University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UT). Since 1989, he has led efforts on more than 165 research, education, and outreach projects that have addressed local, statewide, regional and national issues in transportation and infrastructure systems management related to policy, planning, operations, safety, and risk analysis. He has authored or co-authored more than 125 peer reviewed journal and conference publications. Along with his students and colleagues, he has made over 230 technical presentations at international, national, and regional conferences and at universities.
One of Professor Nambisan’s passions is the development of the future workforce, including efforts at the pre-college level. He enjoys working with students. For his contributions as an educator, researcher, and leader, Professor Nambisan has received several awards and honors. Among the awards and honors he has received is a proclamation by the Governor of Nevada designating January 31, 2007 as the “Professor Shashi Nambisan Day” in recognition of his leadership role in and contributions to enhancing transportation safety.

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Kwaku Frimpong Boakye University of Tennessee - Knoxville

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Kwaku Frimpong Boakye is a graduate research assistant at the University of Tennessee pursuing a Ph.D. program in Transportation Engineering. His research area focuses on traffic and highway safety or risk analyses. He also has the passion of working with pre-collegiate students motivating them to consider careers in STEM programs in college.

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A summer educational and experiential learning program for rising ninth grade students was organized by the College of Engineering at the University of ____. The purpose of the program was to raise awareness among high school students of engineering career opportunities and also to prepare these students for college. This paper summarizes the efforts and outcomes of the transportation engineering portion of the program, Summer Transportation Engineering Education Program (STEEP), held in June 2015. Thirty students from across the state of ___ and it neighboring states participated in a week long residential program. STEEP had two parts. The first part consisted of lecture sessions and the second part on hands-on engineering projects. The hand-on portion included students working in teams of 4 using computers to perform calculations based on the lectures, and also conducting experiments using scale models to verify and validate their calculations The projects were designed first to introduce participants to aspects of transportation engineering, particularly on how human and vehicle factors impact the design and operation of roadways and secondly, to educate teenagers on why road safety should be of critical importance to them. The students were provided general guidance and support to conduct their hands-on learning projects.

To assess the effectiveness of STEEP, evaluations were conducted before and after the program. The first evaluation was a before and after on-line survey and the second, a before and after in-class test. Preliminary analyses of the surveys shows that such educational programs offer significant benefits. In this program, students enhanced their understanding of how human, roadway, and vehicle factors need to be considered in roadway planning, design, and operations, and in turn how they affect safety. Through the hand-on projects, students gained an understanding of how to perform some basic math and science computations using software programs and learnt how transportation engineering concepts such as “stopping sight distance” play a role in the placement and posting of traffic control devices, operating intersection traffic signals, and the design of other roadway infrastructure elements. The program offers significant promise and can be adapted to other settings.

Nambisan, S. S., & Boakye, K. F. (2016, June), An Overview and Preliminary Assessment of a Summer Transportation Engineering Education Program (STEEP) for Ninth Graders Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26233

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