The NITC program supports projects and initiatives that introduce students to transportation concepts and careers. These efforts aim to attract and retain new undergraduate students to transportation-related degree programs and increase the number of women and students of color in these programs. Introducing students to transportation concepts at a young age will expand the workforce pool and diversity of new professionals.
Transportation Summer Camps
Though a variety of funders, we support transportation career-focused summer camps for students entering 9th through 12th grade, with a special emphasis on education for young women. The programs provide experiential learning on transportation that supports livable communities, connects high school girls with women in transportation-related fields and attracts young women from diverse backgrounds to transportation-related course work in their higher education pursuits. Our objectives with this program:
1. Attract students to transportation-related course work
The summer camps will highlight some of the opportunities available for future academic pursuits and develop relationships with existing university students who are assisting as academic aides or chaperones.
2. Provide experiential learning on the different modes of transportation
Field tours let students experience and study multiple modes of transportation in the urban context. Oregon is unique in the United States for its high quality urban transportation facilities such as the bus, light rail, streetcar and bicycle and pedestrian network.
3. Exposure to women in transportation-related fields
The majority of the female-focused programs will be taught by women working in transportation in the academic, public and private sectors. The objective is to not just expose the high school girls to academic and career opportunities in transportation but to provide them with a narrative of the road to success (and examples of overcoming challenges) for each of the professional women.
NITC works with ChickTech to host workshops for high school girls interested in technology. ChickTech’s high school program focuses on events that pose engineering challenges to get girls excited about technology. The program breaks down stereotypes and provides opportunities to encourage girls to consider technology-based fields. Our one-day workshops focus on engineering concepts and basic transportation modeling.
Transportation YOU events
Both the University of Utah and Portland State University partner with local WTS Transportation YOU chapters. Transportation YOU is a hands-on, interactive, mentoring program that introduces girls ages 13 to 18 to a wide variety of transportation careers. Both the NITC funded student group Point B at the UU and TREC staff design and host an after-school activity at a Transportation YOU middle school annually.
Previous partnerships with WTS and Transportation YOU included the design and implementation of the challenge activity for the summer 2014 weeklong event in Washington D.C. The challenge activity book is available here for reference.
Curriculum for Elementary Students
Through national funding from the U.S DOT, our university consoritum NITC funds education grants at six universities. These projects result in creating a library of curriculum that furthers the K-12 body of resources for teaching transportation in the classroom. In 2015 for example, NITC supported the development of a program called “Investigations in Transportation,” a collaboration with the Portland Metro STEM Partnership. The program includes curriculum development and implementation in Portland area elementary classrooms. The curriculum applies science inquiry, engineering design and mathematical practices to transportation-related topics and directly addresses Next Generation Science Standards and Common Core State Standards.