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More than a dozen students enroll in the National Summer Transportation Institute at Johnson C. Smith University

For three weeks, 14 students are participating in the National Summer Transportation Institute (NSTI) on the campus of Johnson C. Smith University. JCSU is one of five Historically Black Colleges and Universities partnering with the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) to change the future of transportation.

“What we’re trying to do is build a pipeline. If we don’t begin to educate our students earlier, and earlier they won’t understand the tremendous amount of opportunities that exist in transportation,” said Al Austin, HBCU Outreach Director with NCDOT.

The program, funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation - Federal Highway Administration, is designed to build relationships between students and faculty at site universities. In addition, it addresses diversity and inclusion in transportation. As Austin added, “We need women and minorities in transportation.”

Throughout the program, students will visit 14 locations across the state, including the Port of Wilmington, NC State Institute for Transportation Research and Education, Wilmington Railroad Museum and North Carolina Transportation Museum. Students will also learn how to build software to fly drones and various modes of transportation, as well as supply chain.

“We are excited to be selected to further our K-12 outreach and to increase promising high school students’ interest in the rapidly evolving transportation industry. This will be a program like no other,” said Anthony Howard, K-12 Program Coordinator of the Smith Tech-Innovation Center and NSTI Project Director.

When speaking about internship opportunities for students, Austin also emphasized the need for students with diverse backgrounds.

“This really is a game-changer for our community because a lot of people only think we’re looking for engineers, were looking for everybody, every degree.”

For more information on opportunities with NCDOT, visit NCDOT.gov.

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