Students and PacTrans
Transportation education and workforce development are high priorities for the PacTrans institutions and are key components of the mission and plans for the consortium. Our five universities educate the majority of transportation professionals working in Region 10. We have won a number of awards for innovative and effective engineering education efforts. Three of our universities have been awarded the top designation of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. PacTrans’ activities in education and workforce development emphasize cultivating leaders and professionals for the future of transportation with education on the systems approach to safe and sustainable transportation solutions.
PacTrans provides educational and workforce development activities in several different areas that are centered on four central themes: enhancing student learning through an adoptable curriculum, increasing student experiences with real-world transportation issues, increasing the recruitment of students through expanded university outreach programs, and improving regional collaboration in education and workforce development.
Each year PacTrans provides scholarships, fellowships, assistantships, and internships to students at the PacTrans universities. As part of our mission to bring talented professionals into the transportation field, PacTrans provides funding to students seeking transportation-related degrees. Students and faculty in the PacTrans universities are directly involved in transportation research and education, and have developed strong relationships with state transportation departments and other regional organizations.
Region X Student Conference
Every fall transportation students from the region gather at one of the regional UTCs for the Region X Student Conference. The conference is an excellent opportunity for students to share their research with peers.
Annual Transportation Research Board (TRB) Meeting
The Annual TRB Meeting is an information packed program that attracts approximately 10,000 transportation professionals from around the world. The meeting is held in January each year in Washington, D.C. at the Marriott Wardman Park, Omni Shoreham, and Hilton Washington Hotels.
The meeting program covers all transportation modes, with more than 2,800 presentations in 500 sessions addressing topics of interest to all attendees—policy makers, administrators, practitioners, researchers, and representatives of government, industry, and academic institutions.
Every year, PacTrans honors the center’s Student of the Year by sponsoring full travel costs and awarding $1,000. The Student of the Year is nominated by transportation faculty for excellence in academic achievement and over all contribution to the transportation community. The Student of the Year is officially recognized by CUTC at the awards banquet held in conjunction with the TRB meeting.
PacTrans reimburses a portion of students’ travel expenses for attending the conference provided students are the primary presenter/author of a paper accepted for presentation at the meeting. At the upcoming 92nd Annual Meeting of the TRB (this January 13-17, 2013), PacTrans has a number of graduate students presenting papers as primary authors.
Outreach Activities to New Entrants into Transportation
All five consortium members perform considerable recruitment of high school students, under-represented minority and women students, military veterans, and K-12 student populations to encourage their interest in transportation science and technology.
The current PacTrans research project “Educating Teenage Drivers in the Pacific Northwest Regarding the Dangers of Distracted Driving” involves a great deal of outreach to high schools in all four Region 10 states.