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Transportation YOU: Inspiring local students to explore careers in STEM

December 17, 2015 08:00 PM
STEM

WTS Boston’s Outreach committee has been busy kicking off this year’s local Transportation YOU program. Transportation YOU is a hands-on, interactive, mentoring program that offers young girls ages 13-18 an introduction to a wide variety of transportation careers. Through the program, WTS chapters work to make a difference in the lives of young girls by offering programs and activities that will spark their interest in all modes of transportation and encourage them to take courses in science, math, engineering and technology (STEM), which are the stepping stones to exciting careers that can change the face of the transportation industry. Locally, WTS Boston has teamed up with a few Boston area schools and will have more programming with each school throughout the school year.

On Tuesday, November 10th, at the first event of the school year, the Outreach Committee held a panel discussion hosted at Newton Country Day School, an all-girls private school. Newton Country Day School Junior and WTS mentee, Yrvine Thelusma, kicked off the panel with a colorful presentation of the highlights of the WTS International Transportation Summit held in Washington, DC between June 24th and 28th, which she attended with WTS Boston mentor Cynthia Carleo. After the presentation, the panelists answered questions gathered from the students prior to the forum and mediated by Senior Camilla Ora. The panelists included Marie Sullivan, FST, Margela Shirley, Geocomp, Debra Caminiti, Caminiti Consulting Co. Inc., and Ali Love, STV Incorporated, Co-Chair of the Outreach Committee. One of the main objectives of the panel was to introduce the students to the possible STEM career opportunities within the transportation industry. The panelists stressed a couple main points: the importance of having a passion for what you do; and that although there are similarities in education and training for engineering, each career path was different from the next. The students responded well to the panel, with a few students excited to follow up with more questions after the panel was over. Newton Country Day School and the Outreach Committee are looking forward to future partnerships with more hands-on learning opportunities for the students throughout the year.

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On November 17th, members of the Outreach committee worked with Nitsch Engineering to perform a brief surveying workshop for the high school girls in the junior class at Shawsheen Regional Technical High School in Billerica, MA.  The girls were given a brief introduction to surveying and its applications before heading outside to an athletic field.  Jeffrey Campbell from Nitsch Engineering gave the girls four stakes and asked them to place them in the ground in a rectangle.   He then explained the stakes represent a typical foundation layout and how it is important to have 90 degree angles when constructing the building.  The girls then worked in small groups to measure the distance between stakes.   Once the measurements were taken, the Nitsch surveyors demonstrated some of the equipment they use to get these measurements in the field, including a robotic total station.  Back in the classroom, the girls used the information they gathered outside to calculate the angles of the corners to see how close the shape was to a rectangle.  This activity was a wonderful opportunity for the girls to see how math they learned in the classroom could be applied in real life. Thanks to Heather Moulton and Mike Camoscio, both of STV Incorporated for their volunteer efforts to make sure the day went off without a hitch!

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The third partnership the Outreach committee is working with to plan future events is the Everett Public School system.  Starting on Tuesday, December 15th, WTS volunteers will travel to each of the five middle schools in the district to provide an after-school STEM program revolving around the construction of the new casino in Everett. An introduction and a series of hands-on activities will give students in grades 6-8 insight into all of the various components of large construction projects. The activities will focus on various STEM fields, such as environmental engineering and remediation, structural design, roadway design and traffic engineering. Each activity will tie back into the casino project to provide a real-world example with which the students are already familiar. 

The Outreach committee can always accommodate new volunteers and members for planning and attending the events, so if you are interested in getting involved with Transportation YOU, please contact Ali Love (Alison.love@stvinc.com) and Katie Choe (Katie.choe@boston.gov).

 

 

 

 

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