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Virginia Tech Transportation Institute to host Women in Transportation Seminar

June 6, 2016

Students interested in the field of transportation will have an opportunity to interact with industry researchers and professionals during the inaugural Women in Transportation Seminar — The Future of Transportation Aug. 31-Sept. 1 at The Inn at Virginia Tech and Skelton Conference Center on Virginia Tech's Blacksburg campus.

The recently ratified Virginia Tech student chapter of the Women’s Transportation Seminar will host the event, which will feature a poster dash workshop and presentations, panel discussions, speaker seminars, and a speed mentoring session. Deborah Hersman, president and chief executive officer of the National Safety Council, and Ann Brach, director of the Technical Activities Division of the Transportation Research Board, a division of the National Academy of Sciences, will give keynote presentations.

“This seminar is a down payment on the future of transportation safety,” Hersman said. “I look forward to engaging with the next generation of champions whose work will save lives and prevent injuries on our roads and rails, in our skies, and throughout our waterways.”

Hersman’s address will focus on “Five Leadership Lessons – How You Learn from Crashes, Collapses and Chaos.” She is a recognized leader in safety and helps further the National Safety Council goal of “making our world safer” to improve every workplace, home, and community, as well as the way people travel every day. Before joining the council, Hersman was chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board.

“Our goal during this seminar is to inspire the next generation of transportation researchers and leaders,” said Brach. “The ability to come together in this type of collaborative setting and to really see how these students can help shape the future of transportation is energizing.”

Brach will discuss “Doing Great Things: Myths, Partial Truths, and What It Really Takes.” She has overall responsibility for the Technical Activities Division in support of federal, state, local, and private-sector sponsors. These activities include the Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting, conferences and workshops, a peer-reviewed journal, and other products and services that advance the knowledge and practice of transportation. Brach previously was director of the Second Strategic Highway Research Program at the Transportation Research Board.

During the seminar, a poster dash workshop will allow select students to present briefly in a roundtable setting. Student will then be able to talk about their topic of interest with attendees, including the keynote speakers and expert panelists. The workshop is designed to foster creative discussion among participants. Following the workshop, a poster presentation session will be held.

Students will also engage with seminar panelists and keynote speakers during a mentoring session Sept. 1. The session is designed to be an engaging, fast-paced event, giving students the opportunity to have brief, directed, mentoring sessions with keynote speakers, panelists, and industry professionals.

Student poster abstracts may be submitted until June 17. Topics can include transportation safety, infrastructure sustainability, advanced vehicle systems, human factors, and urban planning and policy. As an inclusive organization, the Women’s Transportation Seminar welcomes all students — both Virginia Tech and non-Virginia Tech students of all genders — to attend the seminar and submit poster abstracts. More information about abstract submission, as well as student and professional registration, may be found on the Women in Transportation Seminar website.

The seminar is being held as part of the Fifth International Symposium on Naturalistic Driving Research Aug. 30-31 at The Inn at Virginia Tech and Skelton Conference Center. The naturalistic driving symposium will provide researchers and practitioners with an overview of international naturalistic driving studies and insight into the future of such research. Attendees will also have the opportunity to interact with panelists to discuss naturalistic driving in their respective countries. Symposium keynote speakers are Ron Medford, safety director for the Google Self-Driving Car team, and Bruce Simons-Morton, associate director for prevention and senior investigator in the Division of Intramural Population Health Research at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. Registration and event information may be found on the event website. A limited number of student registrations are available, though students do not have to attend the symposium to participate in the Women in Transportation Seminar.

The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute conducts research to save lives, time, money, and protect the environment. One of the seven university-level research institutes created by Virginia Tech to answer national challenges, the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute continually advances transportation through innovation and has impacted public policy on the national and international level.

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