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Inspiring the Next Generation: Lessons Learned from the National Summer Transportation Institute Program

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2019 Pacific Southwest Section Meeting


California State University, Los Angeles , California

Publication Date

April 4, 2019

Start Date

April 4, 2019

End Date

April 6, 2019

Conference Session

PSW Section Meeting Papers - Disregard start and end time - for online paper access only

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Pacific Southwest Section Meeting Paper Submissions

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Yongping Zhang P.E. California State Polytechnic University, Pomona

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Dr. Yongping Zhang is an Assistant Professor in the Civil Engineering Department at Cal Poly Pomona. He is also a registered Professional Engineer in Civil Engineering.

Dr. Zhang currently serves on the Transportation Research Board’s Committee on Transportation Planning Applications as well as Task Force on Understanding New Directions for the National Household Travel Survey Task Force.

From 2009 to 2015, Dr. Zhang worked as Senior Transportation Modeler and Project Manager for Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG); Prior to that, he was a Senior Transportation Analyst for Wilbur Smith Associates in Chicago from 2007 to 2009.

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Ghada M. Gad California State Polytechnic University, Pomona

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Dr. Ghada Gad is an Assistant Professor in Construction Engineering at Cal Poly Pomona. She received her PhD in Civil Engineering (Construction emphasis), from Iowa State University. Her main areas of research is in construction management focusing on contracts, procurement, project delivery methods, estimating, and risk management, in addition to the cultural aspects of construction projects. She is also an ExCEED fellow; her teaching pedagogy focuses on adopting active learning techniques in her classes, to increase student attainment and motivation beyond the classroom.

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Dr. Cheng received his Ph.D. from Arizona State University. His research focuses on highway safety, statistical modeling, traffic operation and management. He won the nationally recognized “2008 Young Researcher Award” presented by TRB Committee on Safety Data, Analysis, and Evaluation due to his research related to safety performance ranking. He also received the 2013 National James M. Robbins Excellence in Teaching Award from the Civil Engineering honor society. Most recently, he received the 2015 Outstanding Research Award and the 2018 Outstanding Teaching Award from Cal Poly Pomona College of Engineering.

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Ahmed Elaksher P.E. Cal Poly State

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Xudong Jia California State Polytechnic University, Pomona

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To address the need for a diverse workforce in the 21st Century and to create awareness of the career choices and opportunities that exist in the transportation industry, the US DOT established various educational initiatives and National Summer Transportation Institute (NSTI) is one of these initiatives. The NSTI program provides the opportunity for middle school or high school students to spend 2-4 weeks receiving a realistic college preview geared at transportation related coursework at prominent accredited college/university campuses across the country.

In 2018, xxx was selected to serve as one of the four host sites for the NSTI program in the country. For this year’s program, US DOT added additional funding to support some students from each of the four host universities to attend a six-day training provided by the National Flight Academy (NFA) in Pensacola, Florida.

Over the summer of 2018, a strong xxx team (faculty, consultants, Civil Engineering students and Aerospace Engineering students) provided a well-designed three-week learning experience on transportation related topics for 40 high school students recruited from 30 high schools across Southern California. Under the theme of “Modern Design Tools in Transportation Engineering: How to Prepare Los Angeles for the 2028 Olympic Games?”, the program was designed carefully to include a multi-modal inter-disciplinary curriculum with 12 field trips, 12 workshops, and 12 hands-on exercises. It is our goal to motivate them to study transportation engineering and equip them with the knowledge and capability to come up with creative, systematic and sustainable solutions.

In addition, students were asked to write field trip reports, an essay, and a group presentation competition. In developing each module, we have kept in mind the program theme and we have challenged students on how to relate what they have learned to solve the traffic congestion problem in Los Angeles area and how to prepare the city/region for the 2028 Olympic Games. Students were trained with our "xxx" educational philosophy.

The NSTI-xxx program conducted pre, daily, and post assessments to evaluate the effectiveness of the curriculum in preparing youth for future transportation careers and to improve our program for future years. The NSTI program we provided was very well received by all parties: high school students, parents, xxx faculty, xxx student assistants, guest speakers, the sponsors, and field trip hosts. It has certainly made great impacts on these 40 high school students as well as the 17 xxx students.

With detailed description of the pedagogical approach, assessment methods, and learning outcomes, this paper aims to systematically review the successful implementation of the NSTI program at xxx and the lessons learned in the process.It is intended to provide conclusions to inform other peers in engineering education in the U.S. and other countries.

Zhang, Y., & Gad, G. M., & Cheng, W., & Elaksher, A., & Jia, X. (2019, April), Inspiring the Next Generation: Lessons Learned from the National Summer Transportation Institute Program Paper presented at 2019 Pacific Southwest Section Meeting, California State University, Los Angeles , California.

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