New England UTC and MIT’s CTL Host Career Day
June 2, 2015
On May 27, 2015, the New England University Transportation Center (UTC) and the MIT Center for Transportation and Logistics (CTL) hosted a career day for 15 high school sophomores, their math teacher Ms. Daniella Suarez, and Ms. Bethany Guen, Director of Development and Communications from the Boston Collegiate Charter School in Dorchester, MA. Boston Collegiate Charter’s mission is to prepare each student for college, and among students there has been a growing interest in science; as a result, their teachers have been trying to increase STEM-related opportunities for the students.
CTL Director Dr. Chris Caplice and Dr. Lisa D’Ambrosio, UTC Associate Director of Partnerships, organized a workshop that exposed students to thinking about how different disciplines – from various branches of science and engineering to the social sciences – come together to address complex questions about transportation that don’t fit neatly into simple categories. Coming into the conference room, students picked up conference name tags and an agenda for the day. The day began with each student introducing him- or herself, telling the group about what their interests were in science, and where they might be starting to think about going to college.
The students then heard brief presentations on “What the Heck Is Transportation & Logistics?” from Dr. Chris Caplice, “Humanitarian Logistics” from Dr. Jarrod Goentzel, “Urban Logistics” from Dr. Edgar Blanco, “Green Supply Chains” from Dr. Alexis Bateman, “9 Feet Under: The Tale of a Boston Winter” from Dr. Michal Isaacson, and “Neurons and Numbers” from Dr. Jonathan Dobres. The students also had a chance to visit the MIT AgeLab’s Miss Daisy driving simulator. Throughout the presentations, the students heard stories about the unique paths each presenter took from what they started majoring in during college through their decisions to go to graduate school, and what it was like to work and to do research at a university. The brief talks demonstrated how STEM training – from the basics of doing mathematical calculations to creating complex models – was employed in solving challenging real world problems. The students also gained an appreciation of how transportation is intricately woven into so many different decisions and issues that individuals, businesses and government must face daily – everything from how weather affects an individual’s travel choices, to how a company decides to ship or source materials for a product, to how governments think about increasing sustainability. Ample time was devoted to answering any questions the students had throughout the day.