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DC Youth Summit

Two of our own WTS Inland Empire (WTS-IE) members recently returned from the 2nd Annual Transportation YOU DC Youth Summit held in Washington, DC, from June 26-30th. Natali Eid-Esparza (WTS-IE Treasurer) and Renee Gleason-Hoppe (WTS-IE Scholarship Co-Chair) attended the Summit as mentors to two 2012 WTS-IE High School Scholarship recipients, Marlena Perez (Los Osos High School, Rancho Cucamonga) and Madeline Choi (Upland High School, Upland). They were accompanied by thirteen other mentor/mentee pairs from across the country. This high-energy, jam-packed 4-day program provides the mentees with the chance to explore opportunities in the transportation industry through participation in events such as hands-on projects that solve real-word transportation challenges, meetings with key college representatives and DC V.I.P.’s and successful transportation professionals. Below are some highlights and fun photos of the Summit!

Meeting with U.S. DOT Secretary Ray LaHood

In his last order of business before handing the reigns over to the new DOT Secretary, Ray LaHood addressed the group regarding the future direction of U.S. transportation and the significance of leadership continuing to encourage young women to pursue careers in the transportation field. The group was then transportation- and career-related questions.

Transportation Facility, Museum, and College Tours

The group toured Reagan International Ariport (DCA); Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA); and Union Station, meeting with the key leaders of each facility. They learned about the inner workings of these many modes of transportation and the relationship of multi-modal connectivity. They visited the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Facility and Udvar Hazy Center Air and Space Museum, home to a large selection of aircraft and the Discovery Space Shuttle.

The group toured Howard University’s campus, where they met with professors and students in transportation-related fields, and asked a panel their college-related questions and discover career options they previously were unaware of.

Bicycle Tour

Joe Toole, former FHWA executive, transportation advocate, and humorist) led the group on a fun and engaging bike tour of our Nation’s Capital along DC’s dedicated bicycle lanes to the White House, Constitution Avenue, United States Capitol, Supreme Court, and Smithsonian Museum of American History to view the America on the Move exhibit, learning about different aspects of transportation at every stop. They also discussed the history of transportation and how it has affected the development of Washington, D.C., and the country.

Team Challenge

As part of the Summit experience, the mentees broke into three smaller groups and participated in a challenge modeled after “The Amazing Race.” At the end of each facility tour, they collected transportation-related items based on what they learned about the different modes and each small group create a presentation. The topics they presented on were transportation technology, safety, and connectivity.

For a great day-by-day diary and pics of the Summit, visit the WTSI page.  For photos, please visit our the Photos page.


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