STRIDE Partners Engage in K-12 Events across the Southeast

There’s been plenty of activity in the past year across the STRIDE consortium related to introducing young children, girls and high school students to transportation engineering as a career. Learn about how The Citadel, the University of Alabama at Birmingham and Jackson State University are reaching out K-12 students and teaching them about transportation engineering. See images from various events in the gallery below.

The Citadel

Summer Citadel Success Institute

Summer Citadel Success Institute (CSI) Engineering Student Outreach. On Saturday July 8, 2017, 70 Citadel Success Institute (CSI) students participated in the Civil Engineering Outreach Day. Students were introduced to the fundamental disciplines of Civil Engineering and were led through various infrastructure and transportation related activities. The bridge design challenge fostered team work and critical thinking among students. Dr.Jeff Davis of the Citadel’s Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering took students on a trip to an on-campus construction site where he explained what goes into civil engineering construction. The talk began with the conceptual and design stage, leading through the bidding and contracting stages, to the actual construction. Dr. Davis also touched on the rigor and detail needed in all stages of the construction process from estimates or ‘takeoffs’ to scheduling. Dr. Dimitra Michalaka, also of the Citadel’s Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, gave a brief overview on the importance of traffic safety and the role that transportation engineering, together with law enforcement, play in keeping all road users safe. Students were taught how to properly operate a radar speed gun to monitor the spot speeds of vehicles and other road users on the roadway.

Introduce a Girl to Engineering (The Citadel)

Introduce a Girl to Engineering – Charleston, SC – Feb. 25, 2018 (100 Girl Scouts, 40 volunteers). The Citadel student chapter of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), the Lowcountry Branch of SWE, the Girl Scouts of Eastern South Carolina, and the Charleston County Office of the Deputy County Administrator of Transportation and Public Works, coordinated to plan “Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day,” a three-hour outreach event designed to introduce middle-school-aged females to engineering.  More than 100 Girl Scouts and 40 student and professional volunteers attended this year’s event. Upon arriving, participants were split into groups of six, with each group being led by at least one college student and one professional mentor.  In groups, the participants worked with their mentors on three engineering challenges: 1) building a replica of the US 17 Ravenel Bridge (Cooper River bridge) in Charleston, SC.; 2) building and racing wind powered vehicles; 3) construction of a truss ladder.

  1. The Citadel. Students making bridges using K’nex

    Charleston Lowcountry STEM Festival – Charleston, SC – Feb. 25, 2018 (500 students participated in engineering exhibit, 3,000 students total). The Citadel Department of Civil Engineering, in conjunction with the School of Engineering, participated in the Charleston STEM Festival, a STEM celebration in the Lowcountry. More than 500 kids were introduced to civil and transportation engineering with hands-on activities, which included testing and making bridges using K’nex pieces. For more information, visit:

    STORM The Citadel event

    STORM The Citadel – Charleston, SC – Feb. 10, 2018, 100 students participated in transportation engineering exhibit (800 students total). The Civil Engineering Department at the STORM the Citadel event as part of the E-Week celebration activities in February 10, 2018. There were 100 students in two major categories: K to 5th grade and 6th to 12th grade.  The students competed in bridge design using only craft (Popsicle) sticks and carpenter’s glue.  These bridges were tested using applied load to determine winners. Four judges were recruited to judge bridge aesthetics.  Awards were presented for best architectural design, best technical design, and best structural design. One bridge held over 700-pounds! Students also participated in a Lego robotics competition, water bottle rockets competition, and a “Trebuchet” design competition where winners were determined by accuracy and precision of the projectile.  A number of dignitaries were present for the opening ceremonies including political, educational and industry leaders. The event was conducted in conjunction with local industry and engineering including, Google and Stantec. For more information, visit:

    University of Alabama at Birmingham

    Introducing a Girl to engineering

    On October 12, 2017, members of the UAB ITE Student Chapter and the faculty adviser, Dr. Virginia Sisiopiku, volunteered at the #URKEY2DRV event in Oxford, Ala. The objective of the event was to educate local high school students about safe driving habits and behaviors and promote safety among teen drivers in the state.  Dr. Virginia Sisiopiku volunteered at the Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day that was held at the McWane Science Center on February 8, 2018. More than 100 high school girls from throughout the area attended science demonstrations and toured stations to learn about different engineering disciplines. The highlight of the event was a screening of the Dream Big movie at an IMAX Theater. Dream Big was created in partnership with the American Society of Civil Engineers and is aimed at bringing engineering into the forefront of our culture. Dr. Ossama E. Ramadan of UAB delivered a seminar to undergraduate students on opportunities for undergraduate research in transportation engineering. The seminar was organized and sponsored by the UAB Office of Undergraduate Research and held on February 7, 2018.  On March 28, 2018, Mr. Richard Caudle, PE, of Skipper Consulting, was invited to UAB to meet with students and offered a seminar on Transportation as a Career Path. The seminar was part of the career advising seminars organized by the UAB Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering in Spring 2018. UAB is preparing for the 2018 Girls in Science and Engineering Day that is scheduled on May 19, 2018. The event will bring 120 middle school girls from the Birmingham region to the UAB campus to engage them in interactive workshops and activities. The goal is to learn about STEM careers, interact with female students and faculty, and encourage them to study engineering and sciences.  The event is co-sponsored by STRIDE and Dr. Virginia Sisiopiku serves as the director of the event.

    Jackson State University

    2017 Mississippi Summer Transportation Institute (MSTI) Program, Jackson State University

    Dr. Feng Wang of Jackson State University is gearing up for the Mississippi Summer Transportation Institute (MSTI), which will take place this year from July 9-12, 2018. The MSTI program aims to introduce motivated pre-college students to the transportation industry. The STRIDE Center is funding some of the activities related to the Summer Institute. During the three-week residential program, students participate in academic and enhancement activities that are designed to improve skills in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) and leadership. The specific goals of the program are to increase students’ awareness of different transportation modes, their understanding of the various transportation problems that exist and finding solutions, expose students to transportation career opportunities, improve and/or polish a student’s creative, analytical and problem-solving skills, develop interpersonal, collaborative and leadership skills and provide guidance and advice for courses to take while in college.

    See images from various events at The Citadel, University of Alabama at Birmingham and Jackson State University.