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Memphis City Schools, in Partnership with U of M, Are Selected for Garrett A. Morgan Grant

For release: November 9, 2012
For press information, contact Kimberly Grantham, 901-678-4279

The Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration has awarded the Garrett A. Morgan Technology and Transportation Education Program grant to Wooddale High School in partnership with the Intermodal Freight Transportation Institute (IFTI) at the University of Memphis for their proposed Memphis Transportation Engineering Careers (TREC) project.

The $100,000 grant is funded through the Federal Highway Administration in honor of Garrett Augustus Morgan, an African-American inventor and entrepreneur. Born in 1877, Morgan blazed a trail for African-American innovators with his patents for an automated traffic light, a gas mask, and a hair-straightening method.

The TREC project, based within the Aviation Magnet Program at Wooddale, is designed to address the Garrett Morgan Program’s goal “to improve the preparation of students, particularly women and minorities, in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics through curriculum development and other transportation-related activities.”

The Wooddale High School/U of M partnership aims to increase the number of students pursuing careers in transportation engineering by raising their awareness of opportunities the field. The combined project also seeks to provide high school science and math teachers with new teaching methods and tools and by to provide undergraduates with leadership training and practice opportunities through peer mentoring. Finally, the project seeks to pilot a sustainable and scalable model for delivery of its first two goals for other institutions to use.

Highlights of this program include: eight academic year meetings of the TREC after-school club facilitated by project partners, including U of M faculty, U of M student societies (such as the student chapters of the Institute of Transportation Engineers, Society of Women Engineers, and National Society of Black Engineers), and transportation industry leaders; a one-week TREC program delivered by Wooddale faculty and U of M student mentors next summer at Wooddale; and a program evaluation and comparison to traditional summer-only outreach programs offered through the U of M Herff College of Engineering.

Dr. Stephanie Ivey, U of M associate professor and IFTI researcher says, “We are thrilled to expand the TREC Program by working with the same group of high school students all year long. This project will have positive impacts on the TREC week as it will allow IFTI researchers to identify differences in outcomes between summer-only and year-round outreach initiatives. We will be in a position to define best practices and to design a sustainable and scalable plan for project success.”

Jeff Holmes, a Wooddale teacher, says, “The TREC program falls in line with Wooddale’s mission of designing real-life applications of engineering content through hands-on, interactive design challenges based on a series of increasingly complex variables in team settings.” He is looking forward to helping teachers introduce transportation problems in their classrooms and present career opportunities to their students.

More information about the TREC Program is available online at

Details about the Intermodal Freight Transportation Institute are available online at

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