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The Transportation Scholars Program


MTC activities at UNI emphasize the support of transportation students through the Transportation Scholars program. Several students will be supported annually. The program focuses on the recruitment and education of graduate students, although undergraduate students may be supported if conditions warrant. Students with transportation-related interest in all departments are eligible. In the past, students have been funded in the Department of Geography, the Department of Computer Science, and the Public Policy Program.  

Components of Transportation Scholar Program

The Midwest Transportation Consortium lists three components of the Transportation Scholars program to be implemented at each member university and several annual events that scholars at all member universities are expected to take part in. UNI's participation in the Transportation Scholars program, with respect to these guidelines, is outlined below.

Research work assignment

Each transportation scholar at UNI receives a research assistantship at the standard stipend rate of the student's home department. Each scholar will be assigned to work with a specific faculty member on research and education activities. The students are allocated to the various departments involved in the program.

An interdisciplinary curriculum

The goal outlined in the MTC prospectus states that graduate-level scholars will take two transportation-related courses in a discipline other than their own.  This guideline is implemented at UNI.  However, due the low number of courses currently available that focus on transportation, a broad definition of "transportation-related" will be used, at least initially.  Outside courses in areas such as GIS, statistics, economics, and research methodologies can be selected to satisfy this requirement if they support the student's research and professional interest in transportation.  In subsequent years, additional transportation-related classes may be available to satisfy this requirement (see below). In addition, the possible use of internships at local agencies (see below) as a broadening experience will be investigated.

Scholar Activities

The goal outlined in the prospectus states that scholars will attend and participate in special activities. Funds from the MTC grant are used to support specific activities intended to broaden the experience of transportation scholars, such as field trips to transportation planning agencies, consultants, firms and facilities, as well as the annual events listed below.

Fall Transportation Scholars Conference

The Fall Transportation Scholars Conference is a showcase of research conducted by transportation students within the region. Transportation Scholars at UNI would be encouraged to submit an abstract for possible presentation.

Spring Transportation Scholars Conference

In the spring, national transportation leaders may be invited to give presentations, followed by informal roundtable discussions. Transportation scholars at UNI would participate in these roundtable discussions.

Spring Transportation Scholars Seminar

UNI transportation scholars will be required to take the Transportation Scholars Seminar. The course at UNI has been expanded from two credits to three with the addition of a one-hour lecture/discussion session designed to provide further opportunity to address the topics discussed in the seminar.

Transportation Research Board (TRB) Annual Meeting, or equivalent national meeting

Students will attend at least one professional meeting each year. In addition to TRB, other options include the Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers (AAG), the Annual West Lakes Meeting of the AAG, the North American Meeting of the Regional Science Association, the Annual Conference of the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association, and the Annual Applied Geography Conference. Similar options will be available to students in public policy, business, and industrial technology. Funds from the grant will be used to support trips by transportation scholars to approved conferences.  In addition, scholars will be encouraged to become involved with transportation-related professional organizations such as the Transportation Geography Specialty Group of the AAG and the Transportation Planning Division of the American Planning Association.

Existing Curriculum and Resources

The current transportation curriculum in geography centers on "Studies in Transportation," a spring seminar series broadcast over the Iowa Communication Network (ICN) from Iowa State University. Other geography courses of interest to transportation professionals include GIS I, GIS II, and Regional Analysis in Planning. In addition, the Department of Industrial Technology offers several courses related to transportation, including Commercial and Heavy/Highway Construction, Construction Surveying, and Technical Drawing and Design, Applied Fluid Power, Statics and Strength of Materials, and Construction Materials. Within the College of Business Administration, the Department of Marketing offers a course on distribution that includes a discussion of logistics.

The College of Social & Behavioral Sciences has a GIS and CAD computer lab with 17 computers loaded with ESRI software, including ARC/INFO, ArcView, several ArcView extensions, and AutoCAD. The lab is used mainly by the Department of Geography and the Department of Design, Family and Consumer Sciences for classes and class projects. In addition, the College has a general computer lab with 25 computers loaded with statistical software and general desktop applications.  This lab is designed for classes and general use.  In addition, the geography graduate student office is furnished with several computers. 


Expansion of the Transportation Program


Within the Department of Geography, a course in Transportation Geography was added in the Fall 2000 semester. It is also expected the number of transportation-related credits taken for independent study and research will increase. In addition, the Studies in Transportation seminar was expanded in the Spring 2000 semester from 2 to 3 credits with the addition of an hour lecture/discussion session outside the seminar presentation. There are no definite plans to increase the number of transportation course offerings in other departments. This matter will be investigated during the grant. In particular, there may be possibilities to work with the College of Business Administration regarding the study and research of logistics and distribution. In addition, UNI will participate in discussions with other MTC members on the development of distance learning opportunities.

Development of Outreach Activities

The transportation center program at UNI will be used to strengthen existing relationships with external entities having interests in transportation and to develop new ones. Possible external partners include the Iowa Northland Regional Council of Governments, the Waterloo and Cedar Falls planning departments, Waterloo Municipal Airport, the Cedar Falls Police Department, the Cedar Valley Economic Development Corporation and transportation/logistics professionals in local private firms, such as John Deere and Aerial Services, Inc. This interaction may take the form of field trips, guest speakers and cooperation on research and education activities. In addition, the use of internships in supporting the educational goals of the transportation center will be explored.

Current Transportation Scholars

Two graduate students are currently being supported through the Transportation Scholars Program:
Matt Kajewski, Department of Geography

Leonard Bombom, Department of Geography



Previous Transportation Scholars include:
Jess Elder, Department of Geography

James Gerjevic, Department of Geography

Jackie Carlson, Department of Geography

Mark Steger, Department of Geography
Mike Carpenter, Department of Geography
Marc Peterson, Department of Geography
Dan Stanton, Public Policy Program
Nagma Yasmin, Department of Computer Science


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Department of Geography, University of Northern Iowa, Sabin Hall 1, Cedar Falls, IA 50614-0406.
Tel: (319) 273-2772; Fax: (319) 273-7103
Last modified on Friday May 07, 2004 04:20:03 PM -0500