N.C. A&T Conducts Successful High School Transportation Institute

By East L. Dockery / 07/31/2023 College of Business and Economics, Transportation and Supply Chain, College of Engineering

EAST GREENSBORO, N.C. (July 31, 2023) – North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University has concluded another successful Summer High School Transportation Institute (STI).

STI students and instructorsSTI is an enriching educational opportunity for rising high school juniors and seniors offered through the Willie A. Deese College of Business and Economics. Since its first STI program in 1993, N.C. A&T’s Transportation Institute has introduced hundreds of high school students to careers and academic pursuits in transportation.

University faculty and professionals from around Greensboro, North Carolina, offer eight different lectures that comprise the STI curriculum. 

“Firstly, my main goal is to get them excited about transportation,” said Venktesh Pandey, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the College of Engineering’s Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering. “There are a lot of opportunities in transportation.”

Pandey’s lecture gives students a glimpse into the problems that occur in the field of transportation and its overall impact on day-to-day activities. “We talked about the city of Barcelona and how they’re managing traffic problems by using superblocks,” he said.

Pandey also breaks down the history of transportation by discussing the impact of Henry Ford, the first aircraft and other events so that students can connect them with what they are learning in the program.

“Technology and historical elements shape how future evolves,” he said. “When we design cities and transportation systems for people and not cars, that is when economy thrives. My goal is getting them excited about it and when they hear other speakers and learn more about transportation then hopefully they can connect the dots.”

STI also offers sessions on career mapping, interview skills, SAT preparation sessions, public speaking and financial literacy.

“We're partnering with Experian for the first time this year to do a financial literacy workshop for the students,” said Nick Allen, STI program manager. “And we’re partnering with the N.C. Department of Transportation and Federal Highway Administration to do a bridge building experience that is hosted in the classroom, as well as an overarching group project.”

STI also partnered with Publix this year so that participants could tour its Greensboro distribution center and experience what a supply chain looks like at a supply chain distribution center.

“The only thing that’s changed this year is that we are hosting a residential program,” Allen said. “So, students are living in the dorms and eating on campus and sort of getting the Aggie experience versus the past few years when we’ve been a commuter program.”

Outside of their classroom sessions, students took field trips to places such as Wilmington, North Carolina, and Washington, D.C., to tour museums, ride ferries and visit the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.

Students also gained practical experience, such as flying drones and steering airplanes, that allowed them to explore endless opportunities in transportation.

“One of my personal favorite activities was discovery flights, where I was able to steer an actual plane, which was an amazing experience,” said Baylee Barkley, a junior at Cabarrus Kannapolis Early College in Kannapolis, North Carolina.

Barkley earned the STI Director’s Award, given to the student who demonstrates consistent, positive engagement, leadership qualities and is a team player with goodwill and enthusiasm.

Students who were less sure about their future in transportation still benefited from participating in STI.

“I applied to the STI because I wanted to step out of my comfort zone, not only socially but also expanding career interests,” said Ceigan Carter, a junior at Keenan High School in Hopkins, South Carolina.

Carter earned the STI Leadership Award for exemplifying strong leadership qualities in word and action in and out of the classroom.

“I want to be a guidance counselor,” Carter said. “This camp has helped me to interact with high schoolers, with a potential of counseling higher level education. The program has also helped me consider counseling in a corporate environment, thanks to Publix Corp.”

Ariyana Hardaway-Dixon, a junior at Global Impact Academy in Union City, Georgia, applied to STI because of her interest in automotive design and learning about how cars work, During the program, she learned to focus more on the social aspect of her desired career.

“I enjoyed learning about the community part of the field I would like to go into and how building cars isn’t just about the beauty of the car but safe and effective transportation that help everyday people make it to where they need to be,” she said.

Hardaway-Dixon received the STI Outstanding Scholarly Achievement Award, which goes to the student who demonstrates a high level of classroom engagement and leads the cohort scholarly performance.

All STI participants came away from the experience with new connections among their fellow students.

“My favorite part of participating in this program is meeting all the other participants and being able to create friendships that I will take with me when I leave,” Barkley said.

“It’s rewarding seeing how the students bond over the course of the program,” Allen said. “They come in, typically not knowing each other at all, but they leave and they really have formed a bond over the course of it.”

Students interested in applying for next year’s STI can visit https://www.ncat.edu/cobe/transportation-institute/summer-high-school-transportation-institute.php or email nrallen1@ncat.edu for more information.

2023 STI group photo

Media Contact Information: eldockery@ncat.edu

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