2014 Summer Transportation Institute Concludes with Banquet

Friday, August 1, 2014

The 2014 Summer Transportation Institute – which exposes high school students to transportation systems, concepts and careers through a variety of activities and field trips – concluded with a banquet on July 25. 

Twenty-one students completed the four-week program at the National Transportation Center at Morgan State University, participating in activities ranging from building a solar-powered car to “driving” on the highway in a driving simulator. Some 11 field trips exposed them to a variety of transportation systems, especially those unfamiliar to them, such as maritime, rail and air. One of the most popular was an outmoded form of transportation – horseback riding.

“I liked how every trip we went on related to transportation,” said Jamilah Johnson, 14, a student at City Neighbors High School, adding that her favorite was a trip aboard the Spirit of Baltimore to see the harbor and port.

“I learned there are more careers in transportation than just driving buses,” said 14-year-old Micah Murphy. “’They need lawyers, they need engineers, they need scientists.”

The program also exposed students to a college campus – the dining hall was particularly popular – and enhanced their interpersonal and academic skills, stressing the importance of STEM skills.

Robert L. Smith, administrator and CEO of the Maryland Transit Administration, was the keynote speaker at the banquet. He praised the participants for completing the program, noting, “We are measured more by what we complete than by what we start.”

He laughed as he pointed out that this was the 18th year of the National Transportation Center’s successful Summer Transportation Institute, yet most of the participants weren’t even 18 years old. He noted that the MTA is one the largest multi-modal transit systems in the country, operating 24/7 with a $750 million operating budget and $750 million capital budget. This fall, the MTA will roll out a program where riders can use their cell phones to see when the next bus is coming.

“We also measure things,” he told the students and their families. “We have to measure how long it takes to get people where they want to go.” Smith detailed some of the job opportunities connected to transportation that students might not realize are part of the MTA, such as real estate, engineering and human resources.

“I would like to persuade you to continue doing what you’re doing,” he said. “There are a lot of opportunities in the transportation industry … pay attention to Morgan – Morgan has a great transportation program.”

Four students received awards: The Instructor’s Award was presented to Angela Brown; Chima Akparanta received the State Highway Administration Award; the Director’s Award was given to Yasmeen Walker; and Shenayia Hinnant received the Federal Highway Administration Award.

Students in the program were: Chima Akparanta, Lucas Ballard, Nia Banks, Emily Beltran, Angel Brown, Nyima Campbell, David Caple, Jaime Carter, Ikechukwu Eneremadu, Thige Gathuri, Shenayia Hinnant,
Jamilah Johnson, Jimmy Johnson Jr., Destiny Matthews, Tia-Marie McCarthy, Micah Murphy, Terray Phifer-Matthews, Daija Townes, Yasmeen Walker, Camille Whitfield, and Kiam Williams.

The Summer Transportation Institute is a national program that is funded by the Federal Highway Administration and operated on the Morgan Campus by the National Transportation Center at Morgan State University. Students apply to the program through the NTC. An outgrowth of the federally funded University Transportation Centers program, the NTC advances U.S. technology and expertise in transportation, research and technology transfer on the university level. Morgan offers more than 184 transportation-related courses and several transportation degree programs.