Summer Transportation Institute


The STI program at ECSU has three components: (1) Teaching, (2) Training and (3) Applied Research. In the teaching and training, high school students will be taught math, simulation, CAD design, electronics, and programming aspects that are relevant to acquire technical careers in the field of transportation. The participants will gain knowledge through lecture sessions and extensive hands-on lab experiments. Once the participants acquire theoretical skills, they will be moved to the applied research component. The applied research area will require the students to apply the theoretical knowledge gained to develop fully functional prototypes.

The STI program at ECSU focuses on applying math, physics, flight theory, computer-aided-design (CAD), microcontroller programming, hands-on activities, avionics, and simulation tools. While introducing these technical areas, the program shows how knowledge of these areas will help students succeed in the field of transportation. Through hands-on activities, students will design and construct alternate fuel vehicle prototypes (land), learn ship/boat design (water), and mini-UAVs (air). The curriculum also emphasizes the safety aspects of working in a transportation industry. In addition, students will engage in interactive activities, collaborative assignments, recreational activities, and oral presentations to provide them with a stimulating learning environment during STI program. Breaks will be provided for lunch and between lecture sessions.

The initial assessment is conducted the first day of class. The Project Director and Co-Project Director sit with each student and asked the questions below and recorded their answers.

  • How much do you know about careers in transportation?
  • Are you interested in a career in transportation?
  • What do you think the requirements are to gain employment in transportation field?
  • Do you have an interest in aviation?
  • How much do you know about different modes of transportation?
  • What do you think the salary is for certain positions in transportation?
  • How much do you know about computer-aided design (CAD)?
  • What is an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV)?
  • Do you have any knowledge of electronics and microcontrollers?
  • Have you ever written a computer program?

Over the years, based on the responses from participating students, we concluded that they did not know anything about transportation industry. Aviation was an area that they had never considered as being a career that they gain employment. Electronics was new area for them. They use computers but had never used a computer to control a device or write a program.

At the end of four weeks, we expect participating students to be able to write computer programs. The students will master basic electronics to the point they will be able to build a sonar system for measuring distances for transportation applications. Students will get exposure to numerous of other careers in transportation that the students never knew about before participating in this STI.

The four-week STI Program includes four hours of training each morning from 8:00 am to 12:00 pm. This morning sessions is taught by the Project Director and Co-Project Director. The topics include mathematics, computer-aided design, flight theory, microcontroller-based design, electronics and/or avionics, and high-level computer programming as they relate to transportation. Exams are given to determine the mastery of the subject matter. If 75% students overall performance is not at least 70% than the topic are covered a second or third time.

Note: The academic program is four days per week. On Fridays, the students take field trips to expose them to careers in transportation.

A sample activity schedule for each week from the 2010 STI program is included in the Related Documents section.