Tuscaloosa, Ala. – This past summer, 10 students from underrepresented high schools in West Alabama came to The University of Alabama to learn about transportation careers.
The Advanced Transportation Institute was hosted by UA’s Transportation Center for Alabama, UTCA, and the Alabama Department of Transportation, ALDOT. During the three-day program, students participated in activities that included:
- Testing road-building materials in the ALDOT labs
- Visiting a quarry that supplies aggregates to highway building projects
- Designing bridges with the West Point Bridge Designer Software
- Building and testing bridges made of straws and pins
- Touring UA’s 3-D Printing Lab
- Exploring road safety software
- Measuring vehicle speeds from remote cameras
The institute also exposed the students to university life, and they heard speakers explain the application process for colleges, visited a dorm, ate meals at a UA dining hall and attended an awards dinner with their parents.
“The best reward for the institute leaders was hearing, ‘I want to come back next year,’” said Dr. Jay Lindly, UTCA director and professor of civil engineering.
This institute was conducted as part of the efforts of the Southeastern Transportation Center, STC, at the University of Tennessee, where UTCA is one of the members. The primary sponsor for the STC is the United States Department of Transportation through grant number DTRT13-G-UTC34.
In 1837, The University of Alabama became one of the first five universities in the nation to offer engineering classes. Today, UA’s College of Engineering has more than 5,800 students and more than 130 faculty. In recent years, students in the College have been named USA Today All-USA College Academic Team members, Goldwater, Hollings, Portz, Boren, Mitchell and Truman scholars.