Fourteen high school students participated in the 13th Summer Transportation Institute
held in the Department of Technology at Elizabeth City State University. The four-week
program, held from June 9 to July 9, brought to campus students from Camden, Chowan
and Pasquotank counties. Students are selected based on their grades and their interest
in science, technology, engineering and/or mathematics.
ECSU professors Dr. Ellis Lawrence and Dr. Kuldeep Rawat received a $55,000 grant
from the Federal Highway Administration to sponsor the institute. Students were introduced
to applications of computer-aided design (CAD), graphical programming, computerized
data acquisition systems and circuit design, as well as documentation as it relates
Lawrence, a professor in the university's Department of Technology, has directed the
summer program for the past 12 years that brought high school students to ECSU for
a challenging summer research program. The program, which also is supported by a grant
from the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT), promotes careers in
the transportation industry. Many of those careers call for strong skills in math,
science and technology.
The institute exposes students to various modes of transportation by land, air and
water while incorporating safety topics. It includes activity-based presentations
by professionals who work in areas related to the transportation mode being studied
and incorporates field trips to businesses and government agencies. Students also
participated in numerous hands-on activities, such as laboratory activities, project
design, construction and testing culminating in competition.
Rawat, who serves as chair of ECSU's Department of Technology and co-director of the
Summer Transportation Institute, said the grants and the summer program are significant
achievements for the ongoing development of the university's Technology and Aviation
The Summer Transportation Institute rewards students for excelling in summer research
projects, field experiments and class projects. Lawrence credits the Federal Highway
Administration and NCDOT for funding a top-notch program that excites students. Without
the funding, Lawrence said the students could not have learned so much about the transportation
Rawat said once students complete the program, they are more aware of how far a summer
pre-college outreach program, such as STI, can take them. The program proved to be
more difficult than many of the youngsters expected, he said, but the challenge was
good for them and they enjoyed it. Students also learned how math and science can
be applied to real-world engineering and technology areas.
Rawat emphasized that the Summer Transportation Institute would not have been complete
without field trips highlighting the progress made by pioneers in the industry and
showing the challenges and rewards professionals currently in the field experience
A trip to the Wright Brothers National Memorial in Dare County, N.C., provided an
important historical lesson for the students. They also visited NASA Langley Research
Center in Hampton, Va., and NCDOT's Division of Aviation and Division of Traffic.
Guest speakers at these field trips highlighted career options in the transportation
field for the youths.
Lawrence and Rawat were assisted during the institute by two undergraduate interns,
William Wilken and Raynard Wright. Both are seniors at ECSU majoring in Engineering
Technology. Funded by a $7,000 grant from NCDOT, the ECSU interns also conducted research
on applications of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) or remotely piloted aircrafts (RPAs)
in the modern transportation industry. Rawat and Lawrence will accompany the interns
to Raleigh on August 10 to present their research to NCDOT officials and other research
interns from nine of the state's Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
For more information about ECSU's Summer Transportation Institute and the application
process, contact Dr. Ellis Lawrence at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Dr. Kuldeep Rawat at email@example.com.