Skip to main content

KNOXVILLE—For a week, sixteen rising seventh- and eighth-grade girls will get a taste of what it is like to be an airport operations director, freight planner, highway safety engineer, traffic engineer, bike/pedestrian coordinator, or transportation planner.

The girls are participants in the second annual University of Tennessee Center for Transportation Research’s (CTR) Transportation Academy, held on the UT Knoxville campus June 20-24.

The academy’s home base is the UT Conference Center Building, but activities will take the participants across East Tennessee as they study careers and issues related to planes, trains, and automobiles. The girls also will have the chance to crash remote-controlled cars, get behind the wheel of a driving simulator, design a safe route to school, conduct traffic safety counts using iPad technology, and examine a dam and locks system. The goal is to get them interested in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics and to think of transportation as a career option.

“These career paths can be technical, and they are challenging, but our goal is for these girls to leave knowing that jobs in these fields are achievable—and they are fun,” said Jerry Everett, research director for CTR. “We feel strongly that last year’s academy planted the ‘seeds’ for several of the girls to ultimately pursue careers in this area.”

Story and photo opportunities during the Transportation Academy are as follows:

Monday, June 20

12:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.—Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) Tour, 7345 Region Lane

Tuesday, June 21

9 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.—McGhee Tyson Airport and Fed Ex Terminal Tour, 2055 Alcoa Highway, Alcoa (boarding the transport outside the baggage claim area)

Wednesday, June 22

9:30 a.m. to noon—Rounds in technology stations: 1) Crash remote-controlled cars 2) Surveying 3) Seatbelt Convincer, which simulates what it’s like to be in a car crash 4) Driving Simulator in Perkins Hall on UT Knoxville campus

3:00 4:30 p.m.—Henley Street Bridge Information Center Tour, Chapman Highway

Thursday, June 23

10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. —Tour TVA Dam/Locks Demonstration at Loudon Dam, (Interested media please contact for directions and permission for entry)

1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.—Rail Tour, Heritage Center (former K-25 plant). From I-40, take Highway 58 at Exit 356 and travel north (toward Oak Ridge) approximately five miles to the Heritage Center

Friday, June 24

9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.—Nascar Speed Park Tour and speed analysis of go-karts workshop, 1545 Parkway, Sevierville

The academy is made possible through a partnership with the Southeastern Transportation Center and a US Department of Transportation grant named after Garrett Morgan, an African American engineer who invented the first traffic signal and serves as the inspiration for the US DOT program that encourages students to pursue careers in transportation.

The academy is organized and sponsored by the CTR, UT Knoxville, and the Southeastern Transportation Center. For more information on the academy, including a video about last year’s academy, visit

The CTR was created in 1970 to foster and facilitate interdisciplinary research, public service, and outreach in the field of transportation at UT Knoxville. For more information about the CTR, visit

C O N T A C T :

Tammy Enix (865-974-4621,

Lissa Gay (865-974-8760,

Whitney Holmes (865-974-5460,