Roads, Rails, and Race Cars After-School Program for Junior High Students

May 19, 2011

NTC graduate students have been key in the launch of a transportation engineering-focused after-school program at Culler Middle School in Lincoln this past fall. With support from the US Department of Transportation and partnering with science teacher Mary Herrington and UNL's Center for Children, Youth, Families, and Schools, the program introduces middle school students to engineering with hands-on activities. Students learn from lessons plans, developed with the input of NTC faculty and graduate students, that complement their STEM curriculum and bring transportation research into the classroom.

Transportation Systems Engineering students John Coburn, Quinton Rodgers and Scott Sorenson act as mentors, provide engineering expertise, answer questions, and support students in completing the lesson activities. In addition, they have presented engaging presentations including, "What is an Engineer?" and the dangers of distracted driving. Their energetic presence engages the junior high students and encourages them to consider the possibility of studying engineering in college.

On January 31st, program participants will showcase all that they have learned in a celebration of the successful first quarter of the program by presenting their favorite activities and most memorable new concepts learned to their parents and school administrators. The program is scheduled to continue for the duration of the school year, with upcoming units on Bridges, Transportation Systems, and Roadside Safety.