Last month, the Transportation Research and Education Center (TREC) hosted a free one-day workshop at Portland State University (PSU) teaching spatial mapping and GIS software to high school girls.

This is the third year that the workshop has been offered in partnership with ChickTech, a nonprofit founded in 2012 to engage women of all ages in the technology industry.

Lisa Patterson, TREC's Workforce Development Program Manager, coordinated the event, which was attended by 16 students. She brought with her eleven volunteer instructors, including PSU students as well as professionals from ChickTech, Angelo Planning, the PSU Bike Hub, and the City of Vancouver, Washington. Her goal was to give the students a unique educational experience with the dedicated attention from so many seasoned instructors.

See pictures from the event, or check out photos from TREC's other K-12 transportation events.


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Transportation workforce development doesn't always take place at the university level. Students' interest in transportation can start much earlier than that, which is why TREC is always looking for ways to engage elementary and high school students in transportation. Under the guidance of Lisa Patterson, our new technology transfer and workforce development program manager, TREC's education programs continue to expand. Many of our education efforts focus on drawing women and minorities, who are often underrepresented in STEM fields, to consider the possibilities of transportation as a profession.

On May 20th, 2017 TREC hosted a ChickTech Workshop at Portland State University, offering a GIS “crash” course for high school girls.

The workshop, held in the Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) lab of PSU’s Engineering Building, consisted of a morning instruction session and an afternoon applied activity. The day also incorporated a lunchtime walking tour of active transportation infrastructure around the Portland State campus. The workshop was led by Kristina Currans and Sirisha Kothuri of Portland State University, and Becky Hewitt and Kyra Schneider of Angelo Planning Group.


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Transportation Training for High School Girls - GIS ChickTech Workshop at Portland State University

This annual event is hosted at Portland State University by event partners Transportation Research and Education Center at PSU and ChickTech


Mapping and spatial analysis has been evolving as an important field of study for centuries. In contemporary times, we refer to it as “GIS”, which stands for Geographic Information Science. Join us at this one-day workshop for high school girls to become familiar with creating and interpreting maps and doing spatial analysis, by working with vehicle crash data from the City of Portland. 

The workshop, held in the Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) lab of PSU’s Engineering Building, consists of a morning instruction session and an afternoon applied activity using your newfound GIS skills. Students will be introduced to the basic elements of ArcGIS — including importing data, exploring spatial databases, and visualizing data in different ways through map design. Students will get to make their own interactive web maps using data from their city and neighborhoods.

The day also includes a walking tour of the Portland State University campus to get a real world look at how the transportation issues we learn about in class play out on the ground. By the end of the day you will have a working understanding of GIS and mapping and new ideas for how...

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