PIs: Mr. Tony Glenn, Skilled and Technical Sciences, Career Field Specialist, Nebraska Department of Education, and Dr. Larry Rilett, Director, Mid-America Transportation & Distinguished Professor, Civil Engineering at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Research shows that engaging students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) learning outside the regular classroom has a profound impact on shaping students' attitudes toward STEM subjects and their future career goals. The Mid-America Transportation Center piloted an innovative transportation engineering after-school club for middle school students in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Inspired by middle school science teacher, Ms. Mary Herrington, in conjunction with the Community Learning Centers program at Culler Middle School in Lincoln Public Schools, students learn about engineering and transportation through hands-on activities that encourage student inquiry. At the end of each quarter, students prepare presentations and activities to demonstrate the most memorable concepts to parents and school administrators at a culminating celebration.

After a successful pilot, the program was granted funding from the USDOT Garrett A. Morgan Transportation and Technology Education Program to expand to additional schools and impact more students in the 2011-2012 school year.

Currently the program has been expanded to five after school clubs and over ten undergraduate and graduate students are currently serving as mentors to the middle school students and math and science teachers leading the programs.

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