Asee peer logo

Benefits and Challenges of Go!: An Innovative Online Publication to Attract Teens to Transportation

Download Paper |


2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Attracting and Retaining Students in Civil Engineering

Tagged Division

Civil Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.277.1 - 22.277.11



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Shashi S. Nambisan Iowa State University

visit author page

Shashi Nambisan, Ph.D., P.E., is Director of the Institute for Transportation and a Professor of Civil Engineering at Iowa State University. He enjoys working with students and he has taught undergraduate and graduate courses in the area of Transportation systems as well as undergraduate capstone design courses. Dr. Nambisan has led efforts on over 150 research projects. He has taught over a dozen undergraduate and graduate courses in various areas related to transportation systems as well as undergraduate capstone design courses. He also has been very active in leadership roles of several professional societies. Among the awards and honors Shashi has received is a proclamation by the Governor of Nevada designating January 31, 2007 as “Professor Shashi Nambisan Day” in recognition of his leadership role in and contributions to enhancing transportation safety.

visit author page


Rema Nilakanta Iowa State University

visit author page

Rema Nilakanta is the program coordinator for the Go! program at the Institute for Transportation at Iowa State University. She has a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instructional Technology. Her research interests lie in the area of pedagogic design in web-based environments and the development of interdisciplinary and holistic design for K-12 curriculum. She has worked closely with secondary school students through the NSF-funded FREE project at ISU (Female Recruits Explore Engineering), and she has a broad background in designing and using technology for outreach and learning in secondary schools. In addition, Rema has also worked on projects funded by the Fund for the Improvement of Post Secondary Education (FIPSE) and the U.S. Department of Education.

visit author page


Shauna Hallmark Iowa State University

visit author page

Shauna Hallmark is an Associate Professor in Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering at ISU. She is currently serving as the director of the Midwest Transportation Consortium (MTC), a Tier 1 University Transportation Center (UTC).

visit author page

Download Paper |


Benefits and Challenges of Go!: An Innovative Online Publication to Attract Teens to TransportationThe paper discusses benefits and challenges of creating, supporting, and promoting the onlinepublication Go! designed to attract middle and high school students to educational opportunitiesand careers in transportation.Transportation workforces come from a variety of disciplines, including STEM fields, the socialsciences, and management. Despite this breadth, the foundational elements for transportationpractice are primarily rooted in STEM disciplines. Practitioners from engineering disciplines,particularly Civil Engineering, are critical for developing, operating, and maintaining afunctional transportation infrastructure system.However, there has been a decline in the civil engineering workforce in the field oftransportation. Recent estimates of those currently employed in transportation and slated to retirein the next 10 years stands at 40-50% (Transportation Research Board, 2003; Federal HighwayAdministration, 2008). At the same time, the demand for skilled transportation workforce hasincreased dramatically since 1990 (Georgia Tech report to the US Department of TransportationResearch and Innovative Technologies Administration (US DOT RITA). Furthermore, as thebaby boomer generation retires, a smaller hiring pool due to slumping birth rates in the 1980s isleft to fill the void (Nambisan & Hallmark, 2010). Reaching women and minorities also has beena challenge (Agrawal & Dill, 2008).Despite the needs and challenges of developing a qualified workforce, there have been limitedfocused efforts to attract middle and high school students to transportation education and careers.Go!, the only such online magazine in transportation, began in 2007 as a communications tool toattract teens to transportation studies and careers. It was created also in response to a lack ofawareness of the field of transportation as a challenging career option among young adults. Theperceived invisibility of transportation (Rodrigue, Comtois, & Slack, 2009) makes realizing thegoals of Go! challenging but also essential.Since its launch, Go! has shown promise, gained new subscribers, and caught the attention offederal organizations such as RITA and other units within USDOT. Go! has been successful inits initial mission. Key indicators of its success include the following in the first half of 2010: ≈860 subscribers; ≈ 5,600 average number of unique visitors monthly; ≈ 14,000 visitors per issue;average visitor spent ≈ 3 minutes per page, and visited about 3 pages.Go! is a valuable tool for supporting and enhancing informal STEM education to developtransportation professionals. Go!’s value lies in its online presence and informative STEMarticles that foster learning anywhere, anytime—a quality germane to informal learning. Suchavenues also offer co-curricular and extra-curricular options with contextual opportunities todemonstrate higher levels of learning outcomes such as analysis, synthesis, and evaluation.This paper provides an overview of the development of Go! including the challengesfaced to promote the publication and gather relevant performance metrics as well as thebenefits of being the only such publication in transportation. The paper concludes withlessons learned and plans for the future.

Nambisan, S. S., & Nilakanta, R., & Hallmark, S. (2011, June), Benefits and Challenges of Go!: An Innovative Online Publication to Attract Teens to Transportation Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--17558

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2011 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015