Teen students receive immersive transportation education at NSTI camp

Ever wanted to build a model bridge with popsicle sticks, program a mobile mini-robot, or make an "asphalt" cookie? A cohort of 27 middle school and high school students did just that and more through a wide range of hands-on STEM-based activities related to the transportation field at the U of M this summer. 

CTS sponsored the seventh annual National Summer Transportation Institute (NSTI) from July 18-29, 2022. The free program attracts a diverse range of students entering grades 7–9 and provides interactive educational experiences for potential careers in transportation, engineering, and related fields. The 2022 cohort included students from across the Twin Cities, but also those visiting from as far away as Duluth and New Jersey.

Activities included a connected and automated vehicles showcase organized by The PLUM Catalyst; a visit with Great Plains Institute and ISD 112 staff about electric vehicles, including an all-electric school bus; a campus tour including the University Bike Center; and virtual experiences with a tour of an Amazon Fulfillment Center and a traffic control game. Students visited with—and learned from—faculty, graduate students, research fellows, engineers, and other professionals in an immersive campus experience at several University buildings and facilities.

Campers were also busy off-campus with interactive field trips at:

Two students sitting at a desk with an Ozobot
Students gathered around the back of an electric school bus
Students learning about light-rail trains in a Metro Transit garage
Students racing laptop controlled robots
Students sitting in airplane seats during a field trip to MSP
A student holding a drone viewfinder up to his face while other students stand behind him, smiling.
Students examining pavement cores in a University lab
Students looking at St. Anthony Falls during a trip to SAFL.
Students in safety vests and hard hats walking through a construction site
A gorup of students watch a demo of bike maintenance at the University Bike Center
Four students pose with their popsicle stick bridge
NSTI students pose for a group photo at the closing ceremony


NSTI is funded by the Federal Highway Administration and CTS and administered by the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT). In addition, this year’s camp received a gift from Minnesota’s Transportation Conference to help offset expenses and also ensure that campers could attend the camp at no cost.

Registration and July dates for 2023 NTSI camp will be announced in early 2023. Contact Program Coordinator Rachel Brodeur for more information.


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Media Contact

Michael McCarthy