Michigan Tech to Host State's First Summer Transportation Institute

By Jennifer Donovan | Published

Michigan Technological University is the first university in the state to receive a Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) grant to host a National Summer Transportation Institute for high school students. The grant will enable Michigan Tech, the FHWA and the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) to introduce young people to the varied opportunities in transportation careers.

Michigan Tech's Youth Programs and the University Transportation Center for Materials in Sustainable Transportation Infrastructure (UTC-MiSTI) will host 30 students from across the state on the University campus in Houghton July 19-Aug. 1, 2009. Most will be from groups under-represented in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.

The students will live on-campus, where they will participate in hands-on activities including bridge design and construction, traffic technology, highway safety, environmental engineering, motion and several other transportation-related topics.

Participants will take a trip to Isle Royale National Park, and guest speakers will lead discussions about airport construction, transportation planning, the technological challenges of Great Lakes travel and building snow roads in Antarctica.

"This program is bringing Michigan Tech and the state of Michigan closer to providing a comprehensive workforce development program in transportation for Michigan's youth," said Beth Hoy, assistant director of UTC-MiSTI. "It complements other efforts, including Michigan's Construction Career Days and the MDOT-sponsored Transportation and Civil Engineering (TRAC) program. These programs are educating Michigan youth about the opportunities for exciting and rewarding careers in transportation."

UTC-MiSTI, sponsored by the US Department of Transportation, conducts research, education, workforce development and technology transfer to meet state and national transportation agency needs.

"Youth Programs is excited to partner with Michigan Tech's UTC-MiSTI program, MDOT and the FHWA to host the National Summer Transportation Institute," said Stephen Patchin, director of Youth Programs outreach and engagement. "This program will provide young men and women traditionally under-represented in the STEM fields an opportunity to explore careers involving the many modes of transportation, including trains, planes, automobiles and our vast aquatic transportation systems. This exciting hands-on experience will open doors they might never have discovered and help make their dreams of success become a reality."

Since the first National Summer Transportation Institute cosponsored by South Carolina State University, the South Carolina Department of Transportation and the South Carolina Division Office of the FHWA in 1993, partnerships between universities and state and federal transportation agencies have established 54 summer transportation institutes in 34 states.

Michigan Technological University is a public research university, home to more than 7,000 students from 60 countries. Founded in 1885, the University offers more than 120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science and technology, engineering, forestry, business and economics, health professions, humanities, mathematics, and social sciences. Our campus in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula overlooks the Keweenaw Waterway and is just a few miles from Lake Superior.