February 2019
Aschkan Omidvar Wins First Place Scholarship from ITS Florida
Congratulations to Aschkan Omidvar for winning the first place ITS Florida Anne Brewer Academic Scholarship! Omidvar is a Ph.D. student at the UFTI working with Dr. Lily Elefteriadou on projects related to autonomous vehicles. The scholarship is awarded to students from universities in Florida who are majoring in a field related to transportation and/or ITS systems.
UFTI Students Attend ITE Student Leadership Summit in Tampa
Ten UF students attended the 2nd Florida ITE Student Leadership Summit (SLS), hosted by the University of South Florida in Tampa. The summit aims to guide future transportation professionals and provide them with valuable career advice. During this three-day event, students attended a series of presentations from transportation leaders from different backgrounds. Additionally, students participated in a career fair where they were able to talk to potential employers and have mock interviews. One of the activities included a competition where groups were assigned to perform an oral presentation and write an article about a relevant transportation issue. One of UF's doctoral students, Luan Carvalho, was part of the winning group. Finally, the event concluded with the announcement that the 2020 Florida SLS will be hosted by Florida international University in Miami.
Fabio Sasahara, UF ITE president, had this to say on the 2nd annual SLS:
“USF has done a fantastic job with this edition of the SLS with amazing speakers and great events. It provided great opportunity for students to network with their peers and professionals, and was a great way to introduce new students to ITE. I am 100% confident that the Florida SLS, first held in 2018 by the University of Florida, is now a solid tradition in our District. We are looking forward to the next edition in Miami”
UFTI's STRIDE Center Engages in STEM Activities with K-12 Students in Alachua County
Marshmallow astronaut ship activity
Elementary school students at Alachua County Public Schools have been learning about transportation through lively discussions and hands-on STEM activities led by Ondine Wells, the STRIDE Center's K-12/Technology Transfer coordinator at the UFTI. At each of the school visits, Wells facilitates a discussion with students related to what engineering is and how different types of engineers must work together to create safe and efficient transportation for everyone. Students brainstorm about what types of professionals are needed in the transportation field such as planners and behavioral scientists to create a future with autonomous vehicles. To challenge students to think like an engineer, they embark on a hands-on challenge to create a space lander for two marshmallow astronauts. Adapted from the Dream Big “Touch Down” activity ( https://www.discovere.org/dreambig/activities ), students are given cups, index cards, straws, cardboard, and tape. Working in pairs, they craft a prototype that can safely land their astronauts when dropped from 12 inches and 36 inches. Quickly learning the value of sharing and improving on each other’s ideas, students complete the activity by enthusiastically describing what made their designs work. 
Save the Date!
The WTS Florida Gator Student Chapter at the University of Florida will be hosting their annual WTS Symposium on March 28, 2019. The topic of this year's symposium is "Big Data in Transportation." The symposium will be held at the Reitz Union on the UF campus. Stay tuned for more details!
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