A group of 61 students—who normally would not have the opportunity to learn about engineering—toured TTI for a behind-the-scenes look at transportation research including crash testing, driving simulation and transportation technology. The idea was to focus on areas of interest for 12- to 14-year-olds and perhaps open their eyes to possible exciting careers in transportation.
The students from a Harker Heights, Texas, middle school are part of the AVID program, which stands for Advancement Via Individual Determination. AVID’s goal is to reach out to “average” students who are capable of succeeding in college but may not have the right motivation to reach their potential.
“It was very rewarding to see these young people asking questions and being engaged,” says Associate Research Engineer Melisa Finley, who organized the tour. “For many of the kids, you could tell a light went on. I think TTI sparked their interest.”
Finley, Brooke Ullman and LuAnn Theiss, showed the students around the Texas A&M University campus. Gene Buth, Beverly Kuhn, Gary Thomas, Sue Chrysler and members of the Texas A&M Institute of Transportation Engineers Student Chapter conducted presentations and breakout sessions. Numerous other employees were instrumental in the coordination of this event.