HBCU conference brings students to Minnesota for presentations, tours

Conference attendees standing in a group outside a building
Conference attendees at the Minnesota Regional Transportation Management Center

In September, the Center for Connected and Automated Transportation (CCAT) hosted its second annual Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Conference. The 2023 event was held at CTS, one of three new members of the CCAT consortium. 

Faculty and students from five HBCUs were invited to participate: Benedict College, Bowie State University, Central State University, Morgan State University, and Prairie View A&M University. The cohort included undergraduate and graduate students focused on environmental engineering, cybersecurity, and computer engineering.

Read the full story from CCAT. 

The conference exposes students to job opportunities in the transportation industry, invites leaders in the field with similar backgrounds to speak, provides tours and demonstrations of partner facilities, and facilitates discussions and networking opportunities to explore areas of collaboration. Gina Baas, deputy director of CTS, led the team that organized the conference.

“The University of Minnesota was honored to host the faculty and students from the HBCUs,” Baas says. “It was a great opportunity to hear about the research they’ve been working on and to learn where we could potentially collaborate in the future.”

The conference began with presentations from several representatives from the University of Minnesota, including Andrew Alleyne, dean of the College of Science and Engineering, who provided welcoming remarks. Next, Baas was joined by Zhi-Li Zhang (McKnight Distinguished University Professor) and Rajesh Rajamani (Benjamin Y.H. Liu/TSI Applied Technology Chair) to present the work their team is doing in the connected and automated transportation field. 

Brian Davis, associate director of the Mobility Technology Laboratory in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, provided an overview of the MnCAV Ecosystem

Tours included a trip to Minnesota’s Regional Transportation Management Center, where the students learned about MnPASS lanes, incident management, and other efforts.

—Adapted from an article originally published by the Center for Connected and Automated Transportation in December 2023.


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