Special Committee on TRAC
Jameelah E. Hayes, Program Manager for Engineering
Why You Should Become a TRAC™ & RIDES Sponsor
AASHTO partners with State Departments of Transportation to provide the TRAC™ & RIDES programs to schools.
AASHTO is a 501-c3 organization and your contribution may qualify as a tax-deductible donation.
As a TRAC™ and RIDES Volunteer, you have embarked on a challenging, yet highly rewarding task–becoming a role model to students and a trusted advisor to the teachers who are in the classroom. Our volunteers are department of transportation professionals and civil engineers or private sector industry professionals with a keen interest in transportation, engineering, and the TRAC™ and RIDES Programs. The typical volunteer is a self-confident, motivated, articulate person who is excited about his or her field and can project that excitement to others.
So what does a TRAC™ and RIDES volunteer do? With teachers, their role is as an adviser, demonstrating how activities work and showing how to apply them to what the students are learning in that teacher’s class. With students, volunteers are role models who answer questions about transportation careers and who help students understand the connection between concepts learned in the classroom and how those concepts are applied in the “real” world. But, most importantly, TRAC™ and RIDES volunteers lead by example, inspiring students to believe in themselves.
TRAC™ and RIDES rely on the dedication and expertise of its classroom volunteers to operate successful programs. Simply put, without volunteers like you, TRAC™ and RIDES could not exist. Volunteers are the solid base upon which the programs are built. They are the frontline individuals who represent TRAC™ and RIDES with teachers, students and others who come into contact with the program. They demonstrate transportation concepts, answer questions and, most importantly, show students that exciting career possibilities in transportation fields and that they can aspire to higher goals.
It’s a well-known maxim that people learn best by doing, rather than observing. TRAC™ and RIDES ensures that, long before volunteers ever step foot in a classroom, they receive intensive instruction that includes:
Training usually takes place during a day-long training session. Depending on the circumstances in your geographic area, this will occur either in a convenient central location with other volunteers or in a one-on-one environment in the participating school.
Either way, you will have learned — through doing — what you need to know to effectively guide the teachers and motivate the students who take part in TRAC™ and RIDES.
Michigan’s Kelsey Fournier’s TRAC Experiences Lead To Civil Engineering Major Michigan’s Superior Region hosted Kelsey Fournier of Gladstone in summer Transportation and Civil Engineering Program
Kelsey Fournier, 18, gives credit to Michigan’s TRAC Program for helping her discover her interest in bridge engineering. Michigan’s TRAC program has three facets: it’s outreach program for high school and middle school students, a state-wide bridge building competition and an internship program.
Kelsey’s experiences with TRAC in school and her seven week internship with MDOT which included scoping and scoping verification meetings, visiting the sign shop and the bit lab, inspecting bridges and working on a design job helped her make her decision to major in civil engineering.
Currently attending Michigan Tech, Kelsey is pursuing a double major in civil and mechanical engineering. “The opportunity was not only a great resume builder, but it was probably the best way I could think of to start my career as a civil engineer.”
“I have experienced so much at a young age that many people never get to and I am grateful”.
After winning a National AASHTO Bridge Competition as a senior in high school and being employed by MDOT for two summers, it is safe to say that Brad St. Germain has gained a lot of experience in his field. As a student studying Civil Engineering at Michigan Technological University, Brad said his experience with MDOT has been very beneficial in preparing him for his future career.
As a senior in high school, the TRAC program was a blessing according to Brad. His instructor, Kevin Bell, introduced him to the TRAC program in his Advanced CAD class. He and his classmates were intrigued as the instructor explained the state wide bridge building competition. The class used balsa wood and string to build prototypes, tested and documented all of their work. Brad and his classmates were all hoping to be accepted to the state competition but never dreamed they would be a finalist in the national competition. “Going to the Nationals was an amazing experience I’ll never forget,” Brad said. “Our bridge held the most weight out of the 3 teams in the final competition securing first place honors for our team.”
In the spring of his senior year, Brad received the opportunity to work for MDOT as an intern. During the internship, he participated in several DOT tasks including: design, estimating, construction inspection, bridge inspection, sampling, HMA testing and aggregate testing. The following summer, he had the opportunity to work with MDOT again as a Construction Co-op. Brad says he has enjoyed working with MDOT because it has given him the opportunity to gain valuable experience in the field.
Brad expressed his gratitude to MDOT for bettering his life in ways he couldn’t have imagined. “I have experienced so much at a young age that many people never get to and I am grateful”.