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Transportation camp aims to help students find wings
transportation camp
Stanislaus State hosted the National Summer Transportation Institute Program last year also, meant to introduce them to transportation careers (Journal file photo).

Stanislaus State is in search of tomorrow’s transportation leaders to participate in a free camp set to start later this month.

Area 10th, 11th and 12th grade students are invited to hone both life and career skills at the university’s second National Summer Transportation Institute — a STEM camp designed to introduce teens to transportation careers and inspire them to consider transportation-related courses of study in college.

“We’re specifically looking for them to increase their interest in the transportation field — not necessarily being a truck driver or a pilot, but more of the engineering, the computer developers and things like that,” said Veronica Chaidez, who coordinates the College of Science’s K-12 STEM programs. “The reason we started hosting this camp is because it goes back to our initiative of getting more students into the STEM field, or science, technology, engineering and math.”

The focus of the two-week camp revolves around the three modes of transportation: land, water and air. Students who participate in the two-week camp get an up close and personal look at some of the Central Valley’s most important transportation sites, like the Modesto City-County Airport, the Port of Stockton and even construction along the High-Speed Rail Project. On these visits, staff members are on location to answer any questions the camp participants may have about their careers.

“Many of them, even though they’ve lived here their entire life, have no idea about the importance of these places or even know that they’re there,” Chaidez said.

At the Stanislaus State campus, campers keep busy with labs that include building bottle rockets, planes, kites and solar cars, among others. They also learn valuable life skills, Chaidez added, like how to write a resume, the proper way to study for the ACT and SAT and even communication skills.

In addition to the camp, 12 students will also have the opportunity to go on a week-long trip to the National Flight Academy for the experience of a lifetime. Chosen students will have the opportunity to plan missions with advanced technology, learn to fly in a flight simulator, eat on a mess deck, sleep in staterooms and receive mission briefings in a full-electronic ready room — all of which were a dream come true last year for then-Turlock Christian High School junior Kojo Bekoe-Sakyi, who was able to go on the trip thanks to his interest in becoming an aerospace engineer.

While students like Bekoe-Sakyi may know earlier on that they’d like to enter the transportation industry, Chaidez said that some students don’t realize they can enter the industry in more ways than one.

“We’ve had some students who wanted to build homes, then realized the construction jobs along the High-Speed Rail Project have great benefits,” she said. “A lot of people have a narrow scope of transportation, and don’t realize there are a lot of different fields they can go into.”

The NSTI for high school students will be held 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, June 27 through July 12. The camp is free, and interested students are asked to sign up by June 12. For more information on applying, contact Chaidez at