Summer Transportation Institute

The primary goal of the Summer Transportation Institute (STI) at Elizabeth City State University (ECSU) is to introduce high school students to the potential career opportunities that exist in the area of transportation. However, a balance has to be met for providing a rigorous academic environment for the students while allowing them to enjoy the program's activities so that they will remember the experience positively and perhaps consider a transportation-related career.

We meet this challenge by supplementing classroom instruction with exposure to math/trigonometry, computer-aided design exercises, laboratory experiments, and field trips that expose the students to a wide variety of careers in transportation. 

We have conducted the Summer Transportation Institute (STI) for high school students since 1999. The curriculum has been modified each year in an effort to keep pace with the new technologies that are fundamental to many careers related to various types of transportation. In four weeks, the students learn about career opportunities for the basic modes (land, rail, water and air) of transportation.

Though, STI program focuses on all modes of transportation, due to the shortage of women and disadvantaged minorities in aviation, beginning 2007 STI program we have been emphasizing on this particular mode of transportation.  During the 2007 STI program, we prepared participants to take the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Ground School Exam for their private pilot license. Ten of the fifteen students passed the exam the first time. Now these students are in a better position to pursue studies in transportation related fields, especially aviation as pilots.

During the 2008 STI Program, particular emphasis was placed on introducing students to careers in highway construction while emphasizing areas such as mathematics, computer-aided design and avionics.

During the 2009 STI Program, we introduced students to the idea of using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) for surveying activities related to highway construction. While exposing the students to highway construction careers, students built electronic circuits and programmed microcontrollers to locate points or survey tracts of land where obstacles exist. The students used algebraic equations, computer models and computer programming to build a fully functional mini-UAV.

The 2010 STI proposal was written with the intent of increasing the resource pool of potential applicants by helping to produce knowledgeable and enthusiastic future workforce for the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT), Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). Therefore, the challenge of igniting the interest of high school students in pursuing careers in transportation will be of great importance. Over, the last three years, the STI program at ECSU has focused on exposing student to transportation careers, especially in aviation (flight) and avionics (UAVs).

For more information about ECSU's Summer Transportation Institute and its application process, please contact either Dr. Ellis Lawrence ( or Dr. Kuldeep Rawat ( This project supported in part by Federal Highway Administration grant.


Project Director: Ellis E. Lawrence, EdD
Co-Project Director:
Kuldeep S. Rawat, PhD


This project supported in part by Federal Highway Administration grant.