Document Type

Conference Paper

Version Deposited

Published Version

Publication Date


Conference Name

2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference


In the summer of 2017, 2018, and 2019, the Center for Research in Education in Advanced Transportation Engineering Systems (CREATEs) at Rowan University hosted the National Safety Transportation Institute. The goal of this program is to provide an exposure to high school students to transportation engineering. More than 50% from underrepresented minority groups, including women, African American, and Hispanics/Latinos attended the twoweek program. In the summer of 2017 and 2019, the program was non-residential lasting four and two weeks, respectively. In summer 2018, the program was two-week residential. In all programs, the students got a chance to explore different modes of transportation, such air, road, rail, water, with an overarching theme of safety and sustainability. The experience was provided through: a) hands-on experiments; b) field trips; and c) federal, state and industry speakers. The goal of this paper is to evaluate how this program impacted their career choices. A total of 36 students have graduated from high school out of the total enrollment of 58 students. The authors reached out to all parents whose students completed the program and have graduated from high school. Of the 36 students, at least 20 indicated that they are pursuing a degree in engineering in college. Although the remaining 16 were unresponsive, it is most likely that the majority of high school graduates who participated in NSTI went on to pursue further engineering education. The authors will continue to reach out to the remaining students. The overwhelming response was one of appreciation at the opportunity provided their students to attend college-level engineering lectures, hands-on demonstrations and field trips to industry partners to which they would not otherwise have access. More specifically, many parents expressed confirmation that participating in the program opened their students’ minds to opportunities in engineering which they had not otherwise considered. In some cases, it was determined that participation simply confirmed the engineering field already chosen when the student entered the program. Another promising response was that several students expressed interest to return as speakers at future NSTI sessions. These NSTI graduates will be amazing role models for future participants of the NSTI program. The paper presents the findings about the career choice of the students and what aspects of the NSTI program, if any, impacted them the most. This paper will provide a blueprint to other NSTI programs across the country as they design their own curriculum.


© 2021 American Society for Engineering Education.