UT’s Shashi Nambisan and Jennifer Richards have garnered attention for a paper they authored that was presented at the Engineering Leaders for Grand Challenges conference held at Texas A&M University at Qatar.
Nambisan, a professor in civil engineering, and Richards, a research assistant professor in food science, discussed various ideas and results related to a summer academy for teachers centered around transportation.
That paper—“Transportation Systems STEM Summer Academy for Teachers”—was selected as the best paper in the STEM and Community Engagement section at the conference.
The academy—which was sponsored by the Southeastern Transportation Center, the Region 4 University Transportation Center and the US Department of Transportation—was held at UT in the summer of 2014 and exposed K–12 teachers to transportation concepts and developments in a way that they could, in turn, relate back to their students.
The goal was to show teachers how to use transportation concepts as a platform for teaching STEM curriculum, developing a lesson plan for use by any teacher who wants it.
Teachers were also familiarized with job and career options in transportation, helping them be able to present it as an attractive career path to young students.
Additionally, it helped build an atmosphere of collaborative learning and set about the formation of peer groups to help continue the discussion after the camp.
Though specific to transportation, the academy’s overall goal of engaging and inspiring students and teachers was seen as a way to help answer the Grand Challenges of Engineering, fourteen critical areas that the National Academy of Engineering identified as facing society this century.
The three-day engineering leaders conference was organized by Texas A&M University at Qatar to help facilitate discussion on some of these ideas. The conference featured presentations by people and groups from twenty-five countries across all six populated continents.
Nambisan and Richards are both members of UT’s Center for Transportation Research, which was created in 1970 with the goal of fostering development and research in the field of transportation and is housed under the College of Engineering.
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