Teen Girls and Their Mentors Headed to D.C. to Meet Federal Transportation Officials

Fifteen female students from across the U.S. have been selected by WTS International along with their individual mentors, to participate in the Transportation YOU D.C. Youth Summit, a conference for young women designed to introduce, inspire, and guide them toward a future in STEM studies (science, technology, engineering and math) and a career in the transportation industry.

The four-day summit, which kicks off on June 26, celebrates some of the brightest young girls from across the country. At its conclusion, these future leaders of the transportation industry will have established a national network of high-profile women transportation professionals, as well as an awareness of the variety of exciting and rewarding careers in the transportation industry.

The WTS chapters represented by the mentors participating in the conference are just a handful of the many chapters across the U.S. to establish WTS International’s Transportation YOU program. Transportation YOU is the joint initiative of WTS International and the U.S. DOT that launched with the 2010 signing of a memorandum of understanding by U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood. Tina Tchen, the executive director of the White House Council on Women and Girls, as well as chief of staff to Michelle Obama, has been an ardent supporter of WTS International’s STEM initiative.

The program also supports President Obama’s campaign to “Win the Future.” In his January 2011 State of the Union address, President Obama expressed his concern that U.S. education is lacking in STEM subjects: “Maintaining our leadership in research and technology is crucial to America’s success. But if we want to win the future — if we want innovation to produce jobs in America and not overseas — then we also have to win the race to educate our kids.”

WTS International’s Transportation YOU program is a source of scholarship, internship, and networking opportunities. It links young women with professionals in the field and inspires them to pursue STEM-related coursework and exposes them to career possibilities in the transportation industry not typically pursued by women. For the Transportation YOU D.C. Summit, each WTS chapter was asked to select a worthy young woman and her mentor to send to the conference. The Summit is the pinnacle of WTS International’s Transportation YOU program, as it brings together participants from across the country for a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

The agenda for the 2013 Transportation YOU DC Summit, includes a visit to DOT for behind-the-scenes access to the inner workings of critical centers of transportation, one-on-one meetings with high-profile female DOT executives, tours of other transportation central intelligence centers, such as Washington Metropolitan Area Transportation Authority (WMATA) and the tower at Reagan National Airport, and academic team challenge projects. There will also be workshops on leadership and teamwork as well as a Q&A panel discussion with college representatives.

“We are very proud of all of our WTS chapters’ efforts to encourage young women and girls to pursue science, technology, engineering or math as a path of study. The transportation industry and its many moving parts are in great need of young people with special skills and leadership qualities. They are the future of our country’s infrastructure,” said WTS President and CEO, Marcia Ferranto.

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