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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Jennifer Harper of Chattanooga has helped ensure safe transport of radioactive uranium in Utah, has helped investigate environmentally sound alternatives for roads in the Smokies, and has a 4.0 grade point average as a University of Tennessee-Knoxville graduate student in transportation engineering.

It’s no wonder she has been named the Southeast’s top transportation student, and one of the top 10 in the nation.

Harper recently won the Outstanding Student Award from the Southeastern Transportation Center (STC).

Dr. Steve Richards, who heads the UT Transportation Center and the STC, said Harper and nine other regional winners will be honored Jan. 9 at the U.S. Department of Transportation annual research board meeting in Washington, D.C.

The STC is a federal DOT-sponsored research group representing Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North and South Carolina and Tennessee, Richards said. It includes several universities in the region, headed by the University of Tennessee-Knoxville.

“Talented students like Jennifer Harper are the key to ensuring safe and efficient transportation now and in the future,” Richards said. “We are very proud to have one of our students win this award.”

Harper earned her undergraduate degree in civil engineering at UT-Knoxville. Projects she has been involved with include:

* Working with Oak Ridge National Laboratory to develop transportation safety plans for a uranium cleanup operation in Utah.

* Helping ORNL conduct an environmental impact statement on proposed alternatives to a section of the Foothills Parkway in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

* Setting up a computer network at ORNL that will create a laboratory simulation of West Knoxville traffic. The project will allow traffic engineers to predict how road blocks and other stoppages on I-40 will affect traffic in other areas. It will allow engineers to operate changeable signs on the interstate to give traffic instructions to motorists.

* Developing a strategic plan for the Traffic Record Improvement Program for the State of Tennessee.

Dr. Fred Wegmann, UT-Knoxville civil engineering professor, said Harper’s thesis proposal is to review traffic court procedure in Tennessee and establish communications links between court officials. Her goal is to publish a reference manual for traffic court officials and to produce an information and training home page on the World Wide Web.

Harper is president of the UT Student Chapter of the Institute of Transportation Engineers and founder of the student chapter of the Intelligent Transportation Society of America.

Harper’s parents are Jean Harper, who still lives in Chattanooga, and the late Harry E. Harper.

Contact: Dr. Steve Richards (423-974-5255)