UT Academy Aims to Get Girls Interested in Transportation Careers

 

KNOXVILLE — For a week this summer at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, middle school-aged girls will have the chance to crash remote-controlled cars, get behind the wheel of a driving simulator, examine debris leftover from a wreck and take electric bikes out for a spin.

These are some of the activities that will be part of the UT Center for Transportation Research’s (CTR) Transportation Academy 2010 to be held on the UT campus the week of June 14-18.

The summer academy introduces rising 7th and 8th grade girls to the world of transportation and the wide range of career possibilities open to young women. Each day will have a different transportation focus: teamwork; planes, trains and automobiles; freight and logistics; transportation safety; and international transportation. The goal is to get the girls interested in science, technology, engineering and mathematics and to think of transportation as a career option.

“Our hope is that each girl leaves the academy knowing that transportation is fun,” said Jerry Everett, research director for CTR and academy organizer. “Even though the path to a career in transportation or another technical field is challenging, it is an achievable goal.”

Female transportation professionals, academics and students will show the girls what it is like to be a flight instructor, a marketing and logistics professor, traffic safety engineer, transportation researcher or a transportation planner.

Special activities include a ride on the “Convincer” which simulates what it’s like to be in a car crash, tour of a traffic signal lab; a lesson in the dangers of distracted driving from behind the wheel of a driving simulator; and an insider’s look at the intricate planning for campus parking and traffic flow for UT Knoxville football games.

The academy’s home base is the UT Conference Center Building, but activities will take the participants to the Life Development Center ropes course in Anderson County, Tennessee Department of Transportation’s (TDOT) command center and traffic monitoring station in east Knoxville, the flight training school followed by a behind-the-scenes tour of McGhee Tyson Airport, a trip on a rail car, the UT Knoxville driving simulator lab, and Neyland Stadium.

The academy is made possible through a partnership with Knox County Schools and a U.S. Department of Transportation grant named after Garrett Morgan, an African-American engineer who invented the first traffic signal and serves as the inspiration for the U.S. DOT program that encourages students to pursue careers in transportation.

The academy is organized and sponsored by the CTR and the Southeastern Transportation Center. UT Knoxville is also a sponsor. For more information on the academy, visit http://stc.utk.edu/transportationacademy/.

The CTR was created in 1970 to foster and facilitate interdisciplinary research, public service and outreach in the field of transportation at UT Knoxville. For more information about the CTR, visit http://ctr.utk.edu/.

C O N T A C T :

Tammy Enix (865-974-4621, tenix@utk.edu)

Lissa Gay (865-974-8760, lissa@utk.edu)

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