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MATC Sends Students to TRB 92nd Annual Meeting

by Frannie Sprouls




The National Academy of Science’s Transportation Research Board (TRB) Annual Meeting is an opportunity for transportation professionals across the country to discuss and learn about research from the past year. This year more than 11,000 people attended the 92nd Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.

As part of MATC's education and workforce development initiatives, the consortium member universities support student travel to the annual meeting.

“The goal is to expose the students to critical issues and cutting-edge research results,” said Dr. Laurence Rilett, MATC Director. “The funding from the US DOT in support of this activity is deeply appreciated by the faculty and the students.”

Over 50 MATC-affiliated students, such as Pradhumna Shrestha of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, attended the annual meeting.

“During my visit, I attended the new attendee welcome session, where I got to meet and network with other first-time attendees,” said Shrestha. “I was particularly impressed with the Young Members Council group, which encourages active involvement in TRB activities and provides mentoring to young researchers and professionals.”

Some students, like Yefing Chen, had attended the meeting in previous years. Chen was part of the IRF Fellowship Program in 2012, and was invited to the IRF alumni reception and dinner at TRB this year.

“When I met some of the fellows and the IRF staff at the dinner, I felt like being back with a big family,” Chen said. “I believe the friendship and professional bonding will last for a lifetime.”

Students who attended TRB were able to interact with a wide range of industry professionals, experts and committees. These connections help the students progress both academically and professionally.

Sawyer Breslow, a University of Missouri graduate student, said he appreciated the opportunity to travel to Washington, D.C. for his first TRB visit.

“The conference opened my eyes to the ample opportunities available in the transportation field,” Breslow said.

Some students, like University of Missouri graduate student Erick Zhu, were able to present their research to their peers.

“My recent projects are mainly about work zone safety, and I believe my work will make the transportation system more efficient and safe,” Zhu said. “Going to the TRB conference and presenting was a great opportunity for me to communicate with researchers in my field.”

MATC actively promotes transportation workforce development. Sending students to the TRB meeting provides an ideal venue for contributing to this mission.

“Attending TRB gives our undergraduate and graduate students a broad view of the transportation profession and exposes them to state-of-the-art research and technologies,” Rilett said. “It also allows them to connect with some of the most influential public and private sector transportation professionals in the country.”

Stay tuned for updates following the TRB 93rd Annual Meeting, which will take place in Washington, D.C. from Jan. 12-16, 2014.