2018 LANGSTON UNIVERSITY TRANSPORTATION ACADEMY (LUTA)
Langston University hosts the Langston University Transportation Academy (LUTA) annually. The primary objective is to attract a diversified group of young people into the transportation workforce. Few minorities enter transportation professions. To increase diversity of future transportation professionals in the United States, it is necessary to deliver intervention efforts that are geared toward encouraging underrepresented students to take science, technology, engineering and mathematics academic courses. It is advantageous for young people to be recruited early in secondary school and exposed to career choices and opportunities in the transportation industry. Therefore, the academy has three related objectives: (1) to create awareness of and stimulate interest in career opportunities in the transportation industry for secondary school students; (2) to attract a broad and diverse selection of bright minds, and acquaint and stimulate them with the various aspects of the transportation industry; and (3) to increase the number of students who choose careers in the transportation industry.
LUTA curriculum generally involves learning about land, air, water, and space transportation, and how these modes of transportation interface with each other. Also, students hone their computer, math, chemistry, and communication skills. Promoting fast, smooth, and safe transportation is one of the underlying themes of the Langston University Transportation Academy. During the recent LUTA, students visited the Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT), where they learned about bridge design, roadway design and construction, and testing of concrete and reinforcing steel used in road construction (Figure 2). Students also learned about the planning process in road and bridge construction and about the importance of science in constructing safe and durable roads and bridges.
Students kept journals of what they learned each day. At the end of the program, students were asked to write an essay on what they expected to learn, what they actually learned, and what they thought they would do in the future as a result of being part of the Academy. Responses helped to validate the LUTA strategy.