2021 Summer Transportation Camp at PSU for Oregon High Schoolers

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Hosted at Portland State University every year since 2016 - our week-long day camps, free and open to any Oregon student entering the 9–12 grade, offer an immersive introduction to transportation careers and the workings of transportation systems in Portland. Students will hear from guest speakers, develop data collection and STEM skills, and go on daily field trips. While on the PSU campus you will:

  • Meet local professionals in transportation and learn about the broad range of transportation careers and sectors.
  • Understand the social justice and equity issues within transportation and how it relates to you, your family and your neighborhood.
  • Get to know the transportation systems in Portland and become familiar with the Portland State University campus
  • Connect with other high school students who are also passionate about careers in transportation, and have fun!

Please be aware that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this program is subject to change or cancellation depending on federal, state and local public health guidelines, and PSU policies.

How to Apply

Applications for the 2022 camps are not yet open. Sign up here to be notified of the format of the 2022 camp and when applications will open.

The camps are FREE to attend, thanks to our generous funders at FHWA and ODOT.

2021 Camp Dates and Eligibility

A critical goal of our high school education programs is to increase the number of women and students of color in transportation-focused degree programs, and expand the diversity and capacity of the workforce. To that end, we offer two camp sessions:

SESSION I (All Genders Camp): July 19 to July 23, 2021

This session is opened to youth of all genders entering or are currently enrolled in an Oregon high school in the fall of 2021 with a 2.0 GPA

SESSION II (Girls Camp): August 9 - 13, 2021

This session is specifically designed for girls (cis and trans) entering or are currently enrolled in an Oregon high school in the fall of 2021 with a 2.0 GPA.

What Will the Camp Look Like?

We'll meet in-person on the PSU campus Monday through Friday from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM, guided by TREC staff, as well as young adult Peer Mentors who play an important role in facilitating team building and leadership development. Each day is tied to a theme, and half the day is spent in the classroom hearing from PSU faculty and guest lecturers from ODOT, the FHWA, the Portland Bureau of Transportation, TriMet, the Port of Portland, and various other public and private transportation agencies from the Portland metro area.

The other half is spent outside, on field tours of Portland’s transportation infrastructure and public spaces. Planners, engineers and designers come from all over the country to learn from Portland, and researchers look to Portland for the most innovative solutions in safe and sustainable transportation. Students will do a walking tour of a Portland bridge, ride transit, go on a jet boat tour, and even ride on bike share! In addition to daily lunch, transit passes will be provided (at no cost) to all students for the field trips away from campus.

The week will conclude with a celebration where students will share what they learned! Check out photos from our 2019 girls camp and our all genders camp, and video from 2019 camps.

Tentative Agenda

The day-by-day agenda is tentative and subject to change for 2021, but based off of the past five years of our transportation camp - these are the types of topics and activities that you can expect from our program.

CAMP DAY
(9AM - 3PM)

TOPICS

STEM SKILLS

FIELD ACTIVITIES

Day 1
Monday

Social Justice and Transportation

Collaboration, inquiry, critical thinking

Scavenger hunt, team building

Day 2
Tuesday

Active Transportation and Design

Design thinking, problem solving

Walking / biking tour, PSU Bike Hub visit

Day 3
Wednesday  

Tactical Urbanism and Placemaking

Creativity, collaboration

Placemaking art and service project (TBD)

Day 4
Thursday

Bridges, Water, and Freight

Engineering 

Bridge tour, jet boat ride, waterfront exploration

Day 5
Friday

Networking and Career Exploration

Inquiry, leadership

Speed networking with Portland area transportation professionals

Camp Alumni

We've been hosting this camp every summer since 2016, and have introduced 135 Oregon high school students to transportation concepts and careers. Here are just a few of the things our camp student alumni have to say about their experience:

All of the speakers were amazing and I learned new things from each one. I really loved the speaker who talked about tactical urbanism because it was inspiring and felt like something that I could realistically do.
-2020 student

It was awesome! Even though it wasn't in person, I loved every minute of camp and will always remember it for the rest of my life!
-2020 student

"I definitely can see myself having a job in transportation, and the camp has inspired me to reach out to my school to improve the pick-up and drop-off system as right now it seems dangerous."
-2020 student

I loved getting to know the behind-the-scenes of how transportation works in Portland! The opportunities to meet professionals from TriMet, PBOT, the Port of Portland, and many other areas effectively opened my eyes to careers I had never even considered before. Probably my favorite part was working with city planners to see the different kinds of roads and how they work to accommodate the specific needs of roads — from bike and pedestrian needs, to budgeting, to vehicular traffic requirements.
–2018 student

After the TREC Summer Camp, I realized how much time, effort, and planning is required in city planning, and I notice different aspects of transportation in Portland more than I used to. I am definitely more interested in having a career in transportation. I also learned about the difference between equality and equity, which I was able to apply in school.
–2018 student

Camp Hosts

Hau Hagedorn, Portland State University

Hau is the Associate Director of TREC at Portland State University and is responsible for the day-to-day management, operations and provides overall direction for the TREC's peer-reviewed research and technology transfer programs, and shaping workforce development efforts. She actively participates in national efforts on conducting and implementing research. She also oversees programming and delivery of professional development workshops through the Initiative for Bicycle and Pedestrian Innovation (IBPI). She is the chair of Oregon Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee (OBPAC) and serves on the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) Pricing Options for Equitable Mobility (POEM) and TriMet Crash Advisory Committee. Hau has over 20 years of public and private sector experience in transportation. In her spare time, she runs as an escape to juggling work and the busy lives of three active kids.

Nora Stoelting, Portland State University

Nora is pursuing a dual master's in Leadership for Sustainability Education and Urban and Regional Planning. She is excited about the ways these two programs intersect in building a more dynamic, connected, and sustainable world. Though she loves exploring outdoor recreation in the great state of Oregon, she is originally from the concrete jungle of Brooklyn, NY. Nora's background is in garden education and environmental advocacy, and most recently worked in waste minimization with airport businesses at PDX. Nora is thrilled to join TREC to work on education programming through integrating tactical urbanism projects into PSU classes and designing TREC's free summer camp for high school students. She feels strongly in the power of collaborative, holistic, experiential teaching and learning to transform ourselves and the world. Outside of school and work, Nora likes to search for new trail races to run, plan outdoor adventures, answer people's questions about recycling, and go for long walks while listening to podcasts.

Frequently Asked Questions

You offer an "all genders camp" and a "girls camp", but do you offer a "boys camp"?

No, we do not offer a boys camp. Women comprise 50% of the U.S. workforce, but are only represented in 15% of the transportation industry. We seek to increase the number of women and students of color in transportation-focused degree programs, and expand the diversity and capacity of the workforce.

What COVID safety protocols will there be?

Most of the summer program will be held outside. We will have limited time each day within PSU classrooms if our presenters need technology, or students need computer access. The University policies around indoor space use have been changing frequently, and we will follow the most current guidelines for summer, which will likely include mask wearing, 6 feet distance, sanitized surfaces, and frequent hand washing. We will provide masks or students may bring their own masks. We will also have hand sanitizer. We will be eating all meals and snacks outside, and will maintain space between students.

How many students will be attending this camp?

Approximately 15 students will be in each session.

Are accommodations provided for the students?

This summer’s program will be a day camp, and will not include overnight accommodations. We will be walking, biking, and taking public transit to attend our field trips. We will provide all participants with a TriMet transit pass to assist with transportation to / from the Portland State University campus.

What supervision will there be?

Supervision will be provided by TREC staff and Peer Mentors who will be college aged youth hired to work as counselors. Students will stay together as a group with staff and mentors throughout the program.

What food will be provided for the students?

Lunch and snacks will be provided. We will be able to work with and accommodate dietary restrictions as well.

When do the days start and end?

The day will start promptly at 9am, and will conclude at 3pm. There will be a half hour buffer on either end during which you may arrive (between 8:30 and 9am) and depart (between 3 and 3:30pm). Students must commit to attending the full week in order to receive a certificate of completion.

What should the students be expected to bring each day?

Students must bring a bag or backpack to carry their belongings in. We also ask that you bring a reusable water bottle and your own mask, but we will have extra water and masks as needed. We will be able to supply all additional materials, but if the student has their own notebook, pen, or snacks they want to bring, they are welcome to bring their own.

For the field tours, will transportation be provided?

All transportation is provided free of cost, and we will mainly be taking public transit and walking as a group.

Will we be biking at any point?

We likely do a two hour field tour of Portland by bike, but we will not rely on biking as a primary form of transportation. Bikes will be provided free of cost. If your child does not know how to ride a bike, we will have another option available.

Can you provide a certificate of completion for this camp?

Yes! We're happy to provide a certificate of completion.

Will we, as parents or guardians, have the opportunity to see the projects that come out of the camp?

Though we have typically had family attend our final presentations/celebration, it is unlikely we will be able to accommodate this for 2021, due to COVID-19 restrictions. We will keep families updated if we are able to host them, otherwise we may be able to invite families to watch via a live Zoom.

Camp Intermodal Advisory Committee (2021)

In addition to our many guest volunteer instructors, special thank you to our committee members for their expertise and support in planning these camps: 

  • Toshi Forrest, Clever Consulting Group
  • Shilpa Mallem, HDR Inc.
  • Shaneka Owens, Federal Highway Administration
  • Lisa Patterson,  Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT)
  • Shelli Romero, Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT)
  • Xao Xiong, Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT)

Funders

Offered through the Transportation Research and Education Center (TREC) at Portland State University, this camp is funded by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT).

TREC at Portland State University is home to the National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC), the Initiative for Bicycle and Pedestrian Innovation (IBPI), and other transportation programs. TREC produces research and tools for transportation decision makers, develops K-12 curriculum to expand the diversity and capacity of the workforce, and engages students and professionals through education.