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Students Hop on Bikes, Trains to Check Out Careers

Transportation campers test out the lunch commute to downtown Durham from NC Central University.
NCDOT is a co-sponsor of the two-week summer camp.
Malachi Moore, 14, examines a map of Durham bicycle routes.

Students from area high schools are riding trains, bikes and even ferries this month as part of a special transportation careers camp at North Carolina Central University (NCCU).

The National Summer Transportation Institute (NSTI) is sponsored by the Federal Highway Administration and the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) to spark interest in transportation careers, said NCCU Associate Professor Timothy Mulrooney, a member of the Environmental, Earth and Geographic Sciences Department.

“We are doing hands-on work with drone and GIS mappings, as well as taking a train, a ferry and riding bicycles,” Mulrooney said.  “On the last day of camp, students will be presenting their work on a transportation-related problem that we’ve encountered during class.

The daily classes in transportation planning are followed by field trips to see how various modes of transportation really operate, Mulrooney said. Friday, July 13, the class will commute together on bicycles from NCCU to downtown Durham. Monday, July 16, they’ll visit the Unmanned Aviation Services division at Raleigh-Durham International Airport to view drone acrobatics. Wednesday, July 18, they travel to the Outer Banks to examine how hurricanes affect transportation in coastal areas.

NSTI runs through July 20 at NCCU. It was created to introduce women, minorities and underserved populations to the field of transportation, said JoAnna McCoy, education initiatives program coordinator for NCDOT.

“The students will be able to see that there are many opportunities and skills involved in the field of transportation,” McCoy said.

Mulrooney, Assistant Professor Chris McGinn and NCCU Transportation Director Cha’ssem Anderson provide STEM instruction and oversee the camp made possible by a $24,000 grant from NCDOT.

Published: Thursday, July 12, 2018
by Senior Writer and Editor, Renee Elder
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