Invests in Maryland’s Students to Encourage STEM Education During Career and Technical Education (CTE) Month and Engineers Week
(February 22, 2018) – Lt. Governor Boyd K. Rutherford joined Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA) Administrator Greg Slater, teachers, administrators, and students at Patterson High School to officially launch Maryland’s new TRAnsportation and Civil Engineering (TRAC) Program, which encourages education, opportunities, and careers in STEM for Maryland students. Baltimore City’s Patterson High School is Maryland’s inaugural school to integrate the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Official’s (AASHTO) TRAC program into its curriculum. Through TRAC, students apply math and science to solve real-world transportation and civil engineering challenges and work side-by-side with transportation professionals who mentor both teachers and students.
“Engineers inspire wonder – they build, they invent, and they improve our lives. TRAC converts classrooms to laboratories of invention and ingenuity, and provides students the opportunity to explore and learn about transportation engineering,” said Lt. Governor Rutherford. “TRAC is a vital component of the Hogan administration’s commitment to supporting young, brilliant minds and developing the skills needed to fuel Maryland’s future workforce and thriving economy.”
Nationally, February 19-23 is Engineers Week, an awareness week to note the considerable achievements of engineers and a chance to highlight the field as a career. As part of the observation and to officially launch TRAC, Patterson students today demonstrated two TRAC learning modules: bridge building and magnetic levitation (Maglev). Patterson High School students have formed teams that are building bridges to compete in the 2018 AASHTO TRAC Bridge Competition in Franklin, Tennessee, in May.
MDOT’s goal is to establish TRAC teams at all educational levels in partnership with committed transportation professionals who are willing to support students and schools involved in the program. With national statistics showing that women and minorities are underrepresented in transportation and civil engineering, TRAC is focusing on attracting underrepresented groups to the field. In addition to Patterson High School, Maryland TRAC also is beginning at Chesapeake Math and IT (CMIT) Academy Middle and CMIT High School in Prince George’s County.
MDOT SHA supports these schools by providing curriculum-specific material and industry-specific technical expertise. To date, MDOT SHA hosted an informational workshop, in which area educators were invited to learn all about the TRAC program and gain hands-on experience. In addition, MDOT SHA has purchased modules for the schools to use in order to offer as many useful materials as possible to aspiring STEM students.
“Patterson High School is committed to equipping students for their futures and we provide a rigorous education program with opportunities beyond the classroom that truly challenge and engage our student and professionals of tomorrow,” said Patterson High School Principal Vance Benton. “Together with our dedicated teachers and bright students, we’re delighted to be the first Maryland TRAC school and continue our tradition of excellence in STEM.”
“We are excited about the opportunity to establish this unique educational partnership with Patterson High School,” said MDOT SHA Administrator Slater. “TRAC is just one example of how we are Marylanders serving Marylanders and supporting the next generation of engineers right here in Baltimore.”
Moving forward, MDOT SHA will be available as a valuable resource to teachers and students both in and out of the classroom. MDOT SHA plans to expand recruitment efforts and bring the program to additional schools.
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