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A Summer Transportation Experience at Mississippi State University

Truax, D., , ., & Reese, D. (Jun 2008). A Summer Transportation Experience at Mississippi State University. Proceedings of the 2008 ASEE Annual Conference, Pittsburgh, PA: ASEE. [Abstract]


In the summer of 2007, Mississippi State University’s Bagley College of Engineering was awarded a grant from the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) to host the 2007 Mississippi Summer Transportation Institute (MSTI). The MSTI is a three-week residential program for 19 rising high school sophomores and juniors. The focus of MSTI was how science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) are related to transportation and career opportunities in transportation. The MSTI included hands-on activities, development of communication skills, and utilization of technology and skills required in today’s workforce. Field trips to the Nissan plant, Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT), and the Columbus, MS Air Force Base exposed students to real-world applications of STEM and introduced them to a wide range of careers in transportation. The curriculum included sessions about structural systems, system illustration (CAD), transportation system layout, hydraulic engineering, environmental and water resources engineering, pavement materials design, building materials design, and traffic management. Leadership training and team building activities were also included. According to student feedback, there was an increase in interest across all subject areas after their participating in the MSTI. Post-program follow up also suggest that the MSTI had a positive effect on encouraging participating students to take more science and math courses. When asked how MSTI will influence their career choices, some of the participants specifically noted overall desires to become engineers. The more specific comments included, “I will most likely be an engineer and MSTI has helped with that choice.” “This camp has enforced my interests in engineering…” “This camp definitely made me want to be an engineer.” This paper will present the overall curriculum of the MSTI camp with specific emphasis on activities that could be implemented at other institutions. In addition, detailed assessment results of each activity will be presented to help institutions interested in implementing similar camps to choose activities which appear to be of most benefit to the students.