This article was originally published in Catalyst, August 2022.
Ever wanted to build a model bridge with popsicle sticks, program a mobile mini-robot, or make an “asphalt” cookie? A cohort of 27 middle school and high school students did just that and more through a wide range of hands-on STEM-based activities related to the transportation field at the U of M this summer.
CTS sponsored the seventh annual National Summer Transportation Institute (NSTI) from July 18-29, 2022. The free program attracts a diverse range of students entering grades 7–9 and provides interactive educational experiences for potential careers in transportation, engineering, and related fields. The 2022 cohort included students from across the Twin Cities, but also those visiting from as far away as Duluth and New Jersey.
Activities included a connected and automated vehicles showcase organized by The PLUM Catalyst; a visit with Great Plains Institute and ISD 112 staff about electric vehicles, including an all-electric school bus; a campus tour including the University Bike Center; and virtual experiences with a tour of an Amazon Fulfillment Center and a traffic control game. Students visited with—and learned from—faculty, graduate students, research fellows, engineers, and other professionals in an immersive campus experience at several University buildings and facilities.
Campers were also busy off-campus with interactive field trips at:
- MSP International Airport
- Metro Transit
- MnDOT Materials Lab
- HDR Engineering
- Third Avenue Bridge (Minneapolis)
- St. Anthony Falls Laboratory
NSTI is funded by the Federal Highway Administration and CTS and administered by the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT). In addition, this year’s camp received a gift from Minnesota’s Transportation Conference to help offset expenses and also ensure that campers could attend the camp at no cost.
Registration and July dates for 2023 NTSI camp will be announced in early 2023. Contact Program Coordinator Rachel Brodeur for more information.
“Thank you for an amazing camp experience! Our family is so grateful for this opportunity and the enthusiasm and skill of all adults involved. We could not ask for a more enriching or meaningful camp. It was a safe and challenging environment where my son explored his passions and learned,” 2022 NSTI camp family.