ITD’s commitment to ensuring a future pool of knowledgeable and diverse workers got a significant boost recently from the Federal Highway Administration.
The FHWA awarded ITD $58,179 to support the Junior Engineering Math and Science (JEMS) Summer Transportation Institute at the University of Idaho in Moscow. This is the second consecutive year that ITD’s Human Resources Office was able to secure FHWA funding for the summer institute.
The summer workshop is designed to encourage junior and senior high school students to study science, mathematics and engineering, especially young women and students from under-represented groups.
The camp provides participants an introduction to engineering through study of real-world scenarios. Students attend classes taught by the university’s College of Engineering professors who guide them through coursework and projects like environmental and transportation engineering, computer programming, robotics and computer graphics.
“The NSTI (National Summer Transportation Institute) funding makes it possible to bring a variety of high school students to the University of Idaho and introduce them to the College of Engineering and Transportation Engineering, in particular,” said Richard Nielsen, chairman of U of I’s Department of Civil Engineering.
“The funding allows us to reach out to students who would otherwise be unaware of this opportunity, and provides scholarships for students who would be unable to attend a summer experience of this sort,” he explained.
Last year, 37 students from Idaho, the Pacific Northwest and as far away as Maryland attended the summer institute, Nielsen said. This year, he expects about 50 students to attend from across the U.S. and one from as far away as Cameroon, Africa.
“The response of students has been very positive, rating the instruction, the laboratories, and the living and dining experience as above average to excellent,” he said.
ITD’s effort to help promote educational opportunities for students who want to learn more about science, mathematics and engineering at the U of I also earned an FWHA partnership award last year for Human Resource Services Manager Mary Harker and Michelle George, HR specialist, senior.
The department’s Human Resources Services office helped secure more than $117,000 from FHWA for engineering education activities at the Moscow-based university the past two years.