8th Annual Region X Student Conference Draws 70 to Corvallis

Ioana Cosma (Center), President of OSU's ITE Chapter, and other students at the 8th Annual Region X Student Conference

The 8th Annual Region X Student Conference was hosted by Oregon State University in Corvallis on Friday and 70 students attended. Conference organizer Jon Mueller said that a surprising number of students from the materials science and economics departments attended and that a significant number of undergraduates from OSU attended parts of the conference.

The conference featured a morning keynote presentation by Galen McGill, manager of the Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) unit for the Oregon DOT. The students learned about Oregon’s efforts to confront the challenge of scarce financial resources by applying technology to increase the productivity of existing infrastructure. Galen touched on recent advances in technologies such as OnStar and strategies such as Active Traffic Management, which has been adopted in Seattle and will soon be deployed in Oregon.

The late morning and early afternoon showcased student research. Eight students gave lecture-style presentations in the late morning and there was so much interest and so many questions that the session ran late and into the scheduled lunch hour. The presentations – four from PSU and four from OSU – revealed similar research interests between the campuses. The poster session in the afternoon provided a less structured forum in which the participants could interact.

The later afternoon offered students 3 workshops to attend. The group was divided into three subsets, each workshop was about 40 minutes long and then the groups rotated so that everybody participated in each workshop.

  • In the workshop on high speed rail, students learned from Betsy Imholt (ODOT) and Jeff Parker (David Evans and Associates) that consultants from 30 different firms are working on Oregon’s HSR plans – and about the complex task of managing that team.
  • In the workshop on accessible transportation, students learned how OSU Professor Kate Hunter-Zaworski earned the nickname “Potty Queen” for her work on accessible bathrooms on airplanes and they navigated a campus building in wheelchairs to learn about the obstacles present in an everyday environment.
  • In the traffic simulator workshop, OSU students Lacey Brown and Sahar Nabaee demonstrated the facility that was established in the Summer of 2010 and participants took turns operating the simulator vehicle.

The day ended with the presentation of awards. The best presentation award went to PSU’s Brian Davis for his talk on the latest generation of electric delivery trucks. UO’s Kory Northrup and Michael Duncan were selected for best poster, which examined the challenge of using ArcGIS to accurately model Salem's bike network. Because Kory and Michael had to leave early, the group voted to give the award to the runner-up, Alex Bigazzi (PSU) for his poster on mitigating congestion as an emissions reduction strategy.

Organizer Jon Mueller said that he was pleased with the energy level during the afternoon workshop and how actively engaged participants were as they interacted with peers from other schools.  The most interaction was probably experienced by the six PSU students who bicycled to Corvallis the day before and bike home the day after.

See you next year!

For more on the conference, check out STEP's  news post (with pictures).

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