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Recruitment and Retention: Summer Transportation Institute for Secondary School Students

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Engineering Physics & Physics Division Technical Session 3

Tagged Division

Engineering Physics & Physics

Tagged Topic


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Paper Authors


Ramanitharan Kandiah P.E. Central State University Orcid 16x16

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Associate Professor of Environmental Engineering, International Center for Water Resources Management, Central State University, Wilberforce, Ohio. He is a co-author of the textbook, 'Introduction to Water Resources'. He holds a PhD in Civil engineering from Tulane University and a registered Professional Civil Engineer in Ohio.

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Subramania Iyer Sritharan Central State University

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Dr. Sritharan is currently a Professor of Water Resources Management and the Associate Director for Research in the land grant program at Central State University. He has served as the Dean of the College of Science and Engineering and as the Chair of the Department and the Director of the International Center for Water Resources Management during which tenure he initiated the Summer Transportation Institute for Grades 9-11 student at Central State University. Dr. Sritharan is engaged in research in hydropower, surface and sub-surface hydraulic applications for irrigation and drainage. He is also engaged in education research related to improving learning and retention of under represented students.

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Gorgui S. Ndao Central State University

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Devising techniques to recruit, retain, educate and graduate students in not widely known disciplines that demand continuous supplies of workforce have become essential for academic institutions. Recruitment and Retention always call for novel approaches that are specific to target audience and fit for the host institution. In this aspect, engineering programs reach out to potential candidates, ahead of time, for their engineering programs with the support of industry partners who show willingness to fund recruitment programs for their future workforce.

Summer Transportation Institute at Central State University is such a program which has been conducted for 15 years to create awareness and interest among secondary school students about the transportation industry with support of Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT). This four week program that is designed with the introductory technical coursework, laboratory experiments, hands on activities, field trips and communication skills. In addition to the instructional activities, the financial support is also used for the food, accommodation and after class activities for the student participants and their mentor undergraduate counselors.

The program introduces the topics of land transportation, water transportation, air transportation and space travel, renewable energy in transportation, transportation related pollution and GIS and GPS systems. In addition, considerable time is also allocated for developing communication skills. The students as a group of five to six people are expected to present their experiences in one of these topics at the end of the program before the award ceremony.

As a bridge between the basic mathematics and science and applied engineering, engineering physics plays a vital role in the instructions of this institute. The physics topics that are touched and explored include forces on trusses, physics of flotation and motion of floating objects, theories of flight and physics of energy. The instructions are followed with hands on activities or filed trips that can enhance the student experiences.

Every year, while this institute helps to recruit 2-4 students from the pool of 25-30 participants for the engineering and science programs, it also helps to support the few undergraduate students as mentoring counselors in summer as a form of retention. The impact of instructing engineering physics at early stages on performance in the college is strong and could be systematized with expanding such instruction to include additional engineering physics.

Kandiah, R., & Sritharan, S. I., & Ndao, G. S. (2017, June), Recruitment and Retention: Summer Transportation Institute for Secondary School Students Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--28782

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